Gardens are smaller and space is limited. With that the trend of clipping and shaping your shrubs or topiary as it is known, continues to be popular. Some of the most famous gardens in the world use this technique to add permanent design to the garden and yet fresh and lush at the same time as the new growth keeps returning after each prune. Be inspired to clip shape and ball some of these favourites.
One common intention for planting topiary is aesthetics even though using them as an alternative screen is still one of the most economical walling options when grown as a hedge. Also by adding variety to any existing landscape design through the infusion of colours, textures and shapes it’s easy to see why they remain popular. Most topiary plants grow quickly and are cut into specific shapes.
Planting in a well prepared soil is recommended especially if one considers that topiary can last for many years. Always plant them with loads of compost as well as a handful of BioGanic and Bonemeal per plant.
Buxus known as English Boxwood is good for hedging and for topiary, especially balls with their attractive low compact spreading growth habit and emerald green leaves. They can be used in a formal hedge or as a focal point in a bed when shaped. Perfect planted in containers or as modern border plants.
Often associated with traditional English gardens boxwood has been modernised and is seen in almost any style of garden today. They even make great bonsai subjects making them one of the most versatile plants in the garden. If you are planting a hedge as a border plant them about 20 to 30cm apart.
Boxwood naturally grows between about the months of August and April. So around mid-Summer is a good time to trim the new growth. The new growth can be cut easily with scissors or shears. If you would like to increase the size of the plant, then you can leave an inch or two of the new growth each time the plant is trimmed. In this way, the size can be increased while maintaining the thick bushy appearance of the plant. A second trimming around February may be required.
Very easy to grow they became popular because of interesting foliage accompanied by showy. Versatile in the landscape there is a use for Abelia in any garden. Their shiny leaves have earned them the name Glossy Abelia and new varieties provide a range of colours.
When allowed to grow as a shrub Abelia has gracefully arching branches with bright, glossy foliage and bell shaped white flowers. Glossy Abelia grows well in a mixed shrub border and has a long season of flowering from midsummer to late autumn. Use it for topiary, to separate garden areas, as a screen or along a foundation.
Abelia will grow best in sun but the green leaved varieties will take a half day shade to dappled shade quite well. The yellow leaved varieties have better colour the more full sun they get. There is no regular maintenance required growing Abelia’s. Although they are water wise they will be a lot lusher if they receive regular watering. They do benefit from a good cutback in early spring to rejuvenate the growth and this will add to the strong branches and overall arching effect of the shrub.
Quick Care and Tips
- Don’t clip too often. A good shaping twice to three times a summer is enough. In between just trim off unruly bits. If you shape too often the plant won’t grow strong and you can get dieback.
- Use a sharp secateurs or hedge clipper. A clean cut will be less susceptible to infection and disease.
- Feed with an organic fertiliser to encourage strong growth that responds well to being cut compared to fast thin growth from chemical fertilisers.
- Mulch around the base to help with moisture retention. In containers it looks decorative too especially if you mulch with pebbles or bark chips.