Topiary Provocation Spring 2021

Topiary Provocation? What is this about?

organic topiary blob

Topiary Provocation, Darren Lerigo, Spring 2021

This spring of 2021 I invited a number of garden designers to a series of meetings via Zoom, to discuss how topiary can be used effectively in modern gardens.

I wanted to discover how both clients and designers felt about topiary, whether it was a part of the garden that got as much thought as, say, the choice of stone for a patio…. and if certain plants and shapes tended to trend in designs or if it truly was a mish-mash of different topiary styles.

The provocation and talks were great fun, the designers engaged and interesting, and a number of ideas came up again and again at each meeting.

Topiary hedge maintenance

The ‘Topiary Provocation’ Report

So whether you are a garden designer or just a keen gardener, do please download the Topiary Provocation report from spring 2021.

It is not as good as being there and taking part in the meetings themselves, but it is a pretty close second! You can see what the provocations were, gage the reactions of the garden designers involved and discover a little more about the problems that stop topiary being used as well as it can be in a garden.

There are plenty of solutions too…

Download and read the report here:

Topiary Provocation, Darren Lerigo, Spring 2021

teaching topiary again

You are more than welcome to send this webpage to other people who may be interested, or put the provocation on your own website. It would be fantastic to have more people see it (and hopefully be inspired by what they read) so please do share it as widely as possible.

If you want to see more of my work, you can take a look at some of the topiary I make here. Or check out some of my topiary tips at The European Boxwood And Topiary Society website.

Though please be aware I do a huge range of work all over the country, both formal or organic in style, but due to needing to keep the gardens private you won’t be able to see some of the most interesting topiaries (unless you are invited over to a client’s garden for lunch. Then you will get to really enjoy it!)

But keep in mind that topiary can be all manner of interesting shapes and styles.

So do get in touch with me if you need some help, or advice, or to chew over an idea….


Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …



Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

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 From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

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 …