Chip-Chop

189. Topiary for Everyone by Bobby Meyer

Part of our responsibility for the new flat is to keep the front hedge in order, and after rather ineffectively hacking at it a couple of weeks I thought I’d read this book for inspiration and instruction, and I really enjoyed the book. It gives ideas and insight without being either patronising or incomprehensible, and does not downplay the value of a plain neatly squared off hedge.

It did give me the freedom to try for a little more than that, without having to think I have to get everything perfect first time, so I got stuck in this afternoon. Below are some before and after shots, which aren’t perfectly lined up with each other, unfortunately, but should give an idea of the shapes and amount of growth I was working from, as well as a bit of a sense of my success.

This is the view along the row of houses, with all the other people’s hedges behind. You can see the hole at the bottom where I unfortunately incompetently attacked the bottom of the hedge when I first got my shears.
row of hedges 1row of hedges 2

This is taken from nearly the same spot, but looking towards the front door. The second picture is from further up the path, and only shows one door, not both. There is purposely an indent in the hedge for the green wheelie bin (into which goes the garden and food waste) to sit and open, which I had already made.
towards front doorview towards front door 2

And the third, out from the front door. Again, they aren’t from precisely the same angle, but I think this one best shows what I was trying to achieve, with a slightly flared vase effect.
view down path 1view down path 2

I don’t like it when people’s hedges take up most of the pavement where I’m trying to walk, so I want it to go fairly well straight up to head-height, and then gently arch outwards. I think that will look nice (and be relatively easy for me to keep in order without needing high ladders).

The plan is to leave it alone for a few weeks, to allow for summer growth, settling, and for me to see how it really looks, and then perhaps give it a little trim at the end of the summer to tidy it up and clarify the shape for winter. Hopefully that hole in the front will fill itself out a bit. As you can see, I’m sticking to the same general idea that was there before, but feel I know a little more now than I did before reading the book.

And perhaps we could get a potted box plant for me to play with shaping more dramatically…

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