The horticultural art of training live perennial plants by clipping foliage and twigs to develop clearly defined shapes is called topiary. This art dates back thousands of years and can provide impressive focal points in gardens and landscapes which Skilled gardeners use to crate incredibly intricate designs of animals, objects and imaginary creatures. We can almost guarantee you’ll want one of these topiaries to grace your home.
The word "topiary" is derived from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, topiarius, a creator of topia or "places".
In Roman times topiary gardens were maintained by slaves. Later, wealthy landowners hired professional gardeners to maintain these intricate designs.
These monumental jazz band musicians made out of vegetation are located in Century Park, Shanghai.
This giant plant castle was created in Olympic Gardens in Beijing, China.
American portable style topiary was introduced to Disneyland around 1962. This one is a part of Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
Taiwan is another country where plant sculptures are gaining popularity. These giant topiary owls made out of many different plant species are located in Nantou County.
Topiary featuring the famous Seurat´s painting “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” can be seen in Columbus Topiary Park in Ohio.
This herd of elephants is probably the most impressive creation by renowned English topiary artist Steve Manning. He has also made giraffes, hippos, lions, cows, wolves and even a Harry Potter-style wizard.
Life size topiary figures of the Beatles adorned the traffic island at Liverpool's South Parkway rail station in March, 2008, Liverpool, England.
No one has identified the first topiary with certainty. However, they have found early pictures of topiaries on the walls of ancient Roman tombs. Moreover, evidence shows that ancient China was also involved in topiary art.
This topiary chameleon has been created out of Echeveria and Alternanthera plants.
Topiary was especially popular in gardens of the wealthy during early Roman times all the way to the 18th century. Today, topiary can be found in outdoor public gardens and even some home gardens.
Combined with water, topiaries can turn into incredibly lively objects such as this cute mini-waterfall.
The most elaborate of topiaries can take gardeners years of hard work. This topiary artist has spent ten years sculpting his hedge into a giant 100ft-long dragon.
Garden pond with topiary dolphins riding a water spray fountain in the Olympic Garden, Beijing, China.
Topiaries are often combined with regular blooming flowers to make the final creation more vivid and colorful.
The most impressive topiaries can be seen at the Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal - an art festival created in 1998 to promote gardening and horticulture.
One of the aims of the festival is also to unite all fans of gardening and landscape design from around the world.
The grounds of the Williams F1 headquarters in Oxfordshire feature this hedge which has been trimmed into the shape of a Formula 1 car.
Topiary appears also in popular culture. In the Tim Burton´s movie Edward Scissorhands, Edward proves to have a natural gift for topiary art. Numerous creative works are shown throughout the movie.
Shaped wire cages are sometimes employed in modern topiary to guide untutored shears.
Woody evergreen shrubs with small glossy leaves are the most popular plants used in topiary.
Another impressive example of human topiary - Prince Charming and Cinderella on a bridge in Epcot.
These “hedge hogs” created by a topiary artist Steve Manning were commissioned for Prince Charles.
Once limited to parks and formal gardens, topiaries are now making a splash in the residential landscaping scene.
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