Being a complete novice to hedgelaying, my son (Harry) and I signed up for a competition run by the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt in East Pennard, Somerset. The competition was divided into two classes, the open for the professionals and the novice for the amateur enthusiasts, we were most...
As gardeners, one of our main aims, along with creating a space that looks lovely, should be sustaining the wildlife we have. And using the space you have available to you to make a home for nature is a great way of achieving this. Whether your plot is big or small, there are countless ways to get involved, from planting bird-friendly hedging, to building a home for hedgehogs.
Steven from the Yorkshire Dales decided to do just this - build a home for nature. When we saw his tweet, showing us his newly planted 90 metre Bird Friendly Hedge, we couldn't resist asking him a couple of questions:
The wonderfully surreal topiary garden at Beckley
Park, Oxfordshire (image: Wikimedia Commons)
Shrubs trained as topiary are at home in any garden.
From a cottage setting where intriguing forms nestle casually between flowers and vegetables, to a much grander scheme where repetitive shapes are rigid and regimented, topiary can be both charming and formal.
And let's not forget that when you trim your humble garden hedge, you're creating (a relatively simple form of) topiary!
European topiary originated in Roman times, where the atriums that were so common in the grand houses of the day became home to geometric shapes and fantastical creatures clipped from evergreen shrubs.
The formality and grandeur often associated with topiary began in the late 15th century with the Italian Renaissance gardens.
These gardens were based on the idea of achieving beauty through order and symmetry, and the clipped forms of topiary as a design feature were used extensively.
All over the country, yellow star shaped flowers are lighting up in streamers along the upright, arching branches of Forsythia in gardens and hedgerows. The most popular garden variety is Forsythia x intermedia Spectabilis. It can be grown as a dense, functional hedge plant, a sinuous small tree or...