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!
Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …
Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …
Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022