wasn’t fussy on geometry at college
but I love shapes in the garden. Curved edges
to beds and borders look good and make lawn
cutting easier to manage.
The fashion has swung back to topiary with
every conceivable shape of every variety of
plant available in garden centres. The good,
well grown and shaped plants are expensive
but there is no reason why you shouldn’t
make your own. The two essential ingredients
for success are patience and a good eye for
a balanced shape.
Select your plant with care. There are a lot
of shaped shrubs on the market that are not
suitable. Slow growing plants with small leaves
are ideal and, in my book, neither Photinia
x frazeri ‘Red Robin’ or Viburnum
tinus ‘Eve Price’ qualify.
yourself and try not to be too ambitious.
Simple shapes such as balls and pyramids
are not as easy as they look. Use bushy
plants of Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’(dwarf
box) or Lonicera nitida. The variety L.nitida
‘Baggesen’s Gold’ has
small, bright gold foliage.
It is essential that the plant is kept
growing with a balanced liquid fertilizer
and is clipped regularly to build up the
with a high nitrogen fertilizer will make
fast growth but it will be soft and liable
to damage from frost and cold winds. A few
feeds of a high potash fertilizer will harden
the growths up ready for the winter.
Pre-formed wire frames are available. These
are fitted over the plant and as the growths
grow beyond the frame they are clipped. Eventually
the plant takes shape and the frame can be
can make your own shapes using a frame of
wire or bamboo canes but get them right. This
brings me back to geometry with “ the
sum of the squares of the other two sides”.
All the sides of the pyramid must be equal
and the ball should be football and not rugby.
If it does end up egg shaped then it was a
rugby ball that you had planned from the beginning!