My name is Darren. I am a gardener who specialises in topiary and pruning.
I live by the sea in Whitby, but travel across the UK, New York and Hong Kong pruning topiary, hedges and shrubs for keen gardeners and garden designers. Sometimes the work is formal, sometimes sculptural or abstract – but consistent is a detailed quality in the clipping and much thought driving the creation of the form.
The high standard of pruning gives the topiary grace, makes it a pleasure to look at. The design of the shape makes the piece work in the context of the garden or landscape.
I have a small client list and we develop work together over years. Alongside this are projects to renovate topiary and give a garden a fresh start. But what my clients have in common is a love for making their garden a better place and a commitment to the time topiary needs to develop.
My Favourite Topiary To Make…
Is when I am asked to prune an existing plant or hedge in a way that accentuates its character.
There is an art to this – you are in conversation with the plant and the landscape around it. This is the work that thrills me most, to elevate an unloved part of the garden with a few judicious cuts….
Inspiration comes from the work of Fernando Caruncho – the detail in the design and the boldness of the aesthetic. Interestingly, I am drawn to the philosophy of Henk Gerritsen too – of making a wilderness from the garden, or turning what is straight into a curve, what is curved made straight.
But my topiary mentor is Charlotte Molesworth – The Queen of Topiary!
Charlotte’s garden is a treasure trove of yew, boxwood and deciduous topiary, narrowed native hedges, pollarded elbows of elm and experiments in the art of pruning.
It has been a privilege to learn with her.
I use as few tools as possible in my work – just my sharp Japanese shears, a ladder, string, then battery powered hedge trimmers to reduce noise pollution. These restrictions force me to focus on pruning skills and the value of the design idea.
Making topiary is a commitment. It often begins unclear, undefined, before developing into the strong bones of a garden. So if you wish to improve your space by creating or renovating a topiary, best get started as soon as you can!
Contact me for a chat about your project, let’s see if I can help!