THE MODERN MINT BLOG
A simple blog post today – we offer you a vocabulary to use when looking at ways to prune creatively, then at the end link to places you can buy tools and read more about the work of some of the key players in the pruning world.
We hope this vocabulary is useful though – as you never know when you might need to explain the difference between a wibble and a twmp – it may help sell the idea to a client, or unwilling family member who thinks you should just leave that tree well alone…
A Shape and Clipping Vocabulary
Crenellation – a space between two merlons in a battlement wall.
Merlons – the upright bit in a castle fort (see crenallation… or google ‘crenels…) An archer may have peered through it to fire arrows.
Parterre – a more formal topiary arrangement than a bump, say…
Batter – sloped side on a hedge, where the bottom is wider than the top allowing light to reach the whole height of the hedge.
Niwaki – meaning ‘garden tree’ – Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way
Hedge – double, triple…
Karikomi – one plant repeated in a great mass… for great effect…
Nursery & Topiary Specialists
Nicky Fraser – graffiti artist using hedges. Brilliant stuff!
Charlotte Molesworth – It’s the shape of things to come.
Architectural Plants – where we first heard the term Niwaki.
Earlstone Box and Topiary – field grown box plants near where we lived in Hampshire.
Langley Boxwood – where we sourced little used Buxus ‘Herrenhausen’, a tiny leaved box…
European Boxwood and Topiary Society – publishers of the wonderful Topiarius magazine and brilliant starting place to learn about all things box. Modern Mint are proud to be members!
We hope this glossary of terms helps you put into words what you are trying to do when you clip. It is, much like the act of pruning, an organic artifact that is growing all the time as new people take up a pair of shears and begin to shape the plants around them.
We hope that you have a go this year, and can help add another word to the growing vocabulary of the pruner!
Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.
Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …
Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …