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Topiary, nothing has to do with mice, but it has to do with gardens, the beautifully tidy and maintained ones, in which you can see shapes that seem to come out of an illustrated children's book. This is topiary, the art of cutting hedges and shrubs, transforming them into works of art.
The technique is very old, dates back to the era of Ancient Rome when the plants were already grown on some metal supports so that they took on specific shapes. We then gradually learned to prune branches and leaves following gods increasingly refined technical criteria of topiary.
When you apply this technique you get gods highly appreciated results but a high level of maintenance is also required, otherwise the shapes disappear and the hedges go back to being banal hedges. The historical era in which topiary art was the protagonist is that Flavia, an example of what was created is the Templum Pacis, built under Vespasian.
Topiary: how to do it
You can't improvise topiary experts, because it's not trivial prune trees and shrubs to obtain a specific geometric shape or even a whimsical form, for ornamental purposes. It is rare that plants alone decide to take on forms desired by us humans, so we have to knowing how to tame them without damaging them. When you acquire a certain skill, you can create abstract shapes or of animals, objects, people.
Forms for topiary
To shape bushes, shrubs and plants you need gods metal or otherwise rigid supports that refer both to us and to the new branches and leaves. In the 16th century, topiary art was mainly used to form gods parterre in the gardens of the palaces, with the box hedge. Seen from above, what was obtained was a kind of green tapestry, with full and empty, leaves and flowers. Sometimes even gravel, such as decorative white lines.
As the type of plant varies, the quantity of forms obtainable also varies. There are hedges like boxwood, which allow us to be particularly imaginative.
In the nurseries there are many books but above all many tools that are essential for those involved in topiary art. Hedges with shapes are often visible in the public gardens of palaces or historic villas but also in private gardens, perhaps we have never noticed, but also in city gardens, in condominiums, “ball” shaped or particularly squared hedges. In the nurseries we find metal elements that can support and orient the branches in the directions we want in order to create our work in green.
Today it is seen more often topiary applied to individual plants, protagonists of the garden, or on a series of plants that create a border or a labyrinth. Various types of plants can be used for topiary art, most are evergreen with limited growth. Here are some examples: Laurus nobilis, Cupressus and other similar conifers, Buxus sempervirens, Taxus baccata, Ligustrum jonandrum.
You can try your hand safely in the art of shaping hedges. There are shapes and tools especially for beginners to get encouraging results, such as metal supports to tie the branches to, to remove when you get the shape you want.
Topiary: metal structures
The metal structures to be used, professional and non, can also be found online, such as these garden decorations, in the shape of animals, pre-filled, available on Amazon.
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