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TOPIARY TIPS


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Krishan28-Feb-04 06:52 PM EST 6b   
Glen28-Feb-04 09:52 PM EST 7   
krisaan29-Feb-04 10:18 AM EST 6b   
Glen29-Feb-04 12:10 PM EST 7   
Wendy P29-Feb-04 02:46 PM EST 7   
Krishan29-Feb-04 05:17 PM EST 6b   
Wendy P02-Mar-04 05:57 PM EST 7   
Pata03-Mar-04 12:57 PM EST 3   
Krishan15-Mar-04 07:44 PM EST 6b   
Wendy Miller03-Apr-04 12:41 PM EST 3   


Subject: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Krishan
Zone: 6b
Date: 28-Feb-04 06:52 PM EST

I am new to the art of topiary. Would like to check with those who have practical experience here on the Vancouver Island and the West Coast of Canada. My initial questions are about:

(a) Times of the year when to do the trimmimgs (b) How many times is good (c) How much to cut, first time (d) How much to cut, regularly and at what frequency. (e) How much time is takes to get a good desired shape. (f) which are the best suited shrubs on which to try it. (g) Rules of the thumb!!

I know there are some books available but it would be nice to hear the personal and practical experiences.

Regards, Krishan


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Glen
Zone: 7
Date: 28-Feb-04 09:52 PM EST

Krishan--I am going to try doing a "poodle" with the waxleaf privet starting soon. My first try personally.

I have watched an experienced guy here doing the emerald cedars. He seems to select about a 5 ft. tree from the field (B&B), looking for plants with single stems(most landscapers are looking for the multiple stem cedars for hedging, so this is contrary to that rule). This is put into a 7gal. container for a little over a year.

Heavy initial shaping, cedars can be really pruned back hard and will fill back in. Then just keep trimming every time you go by, I would tend to stop pruning after August around here to avoid late growth that might get frost damage.

This is usually done in a spiral with the cedars, tho you could also do the "poodle" (3balls one on top of each other) on these as well.

Alberta spruce trim up nicely too, but are so much slower growing and eventually seem to get ugly when older. Spiral cedars seem most common and are always an attractive accent in the landscape. Just have to water well while they are in the pot, along with a decent fertility program to keep em from yellowing.

Good luck with it, Glen


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: krisaan
Zone: 6b
Date: 29-Feb-04 10:18 AM EST

Is it necessary to start them in pot? I have some 5-6 ft pyramid cedars with 1.5 ft globe cedars in between them and all spaced about 2.5 ft from each other in rows along the from borders of my front yard. I want to try topiary on them, just to keep them smoothly shaped (Cylindrical and spherical). Regards, Krishan


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Glen
Zone: 7
Date: 29-Feb-04 12:10 PM EST

Krishan-I realized after posting that I was coming at the topiary from a semi-commercial viewpoint. I do a bit of backyard nursery, as does the topiary fellow I was referring to. That explains the moving into a 7gal. container!

Of course, the cedars will do even better in the ground, much less fuss with watering and fertilizing.


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Wendy P
Zone: 7
Date: 29-Feb-04 02:46 PM EST

Topiaries are so cool! - and expensive in the nurseries. After a few years with yours, you'll understand better why. An important thing to consider on cedars is that there is no new green growth when you cut back to wood. This makes "poodles" easier but can scar other shapes with an errant cut. As long as there's some green, it will flush out again. Start your shape now and then prepare to trim about once a month. The last hairdo is usually mid-Sept[must harden off new growth for winter].

If you'd like to practice, start with a neighbor or relative's overgrown shrubbery. Use sharp, clean hand-held hedging shears - the electric ones shred the remaining foliage [professionals the world over use shears]. Don't cut too deeply to start. Several passes is better than a cut too far. Step back from your work often and view it from all sides.

Good plants for topiaries are: most cedars, some junipers, dwarf Alberta Spruce, and boxwood. Unusuals [needing winter protection] are citrus trees, fuschia, pelargorium [tender geranium], Rosemary, Bay laurel, myrtle, lemon verbena and heliotrope. Petunias [the Surfina and Wave varieties] can even be made into standards. If you're interested in how to do the faster-growing tender perennials, let me know. They take some planning and time but are quite charming.


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Krishan
Zone: 6b
Date: 29-Feb-04 05:17 PM EST

Thanks Wendy and Glen, for those valuable tips. I am going to start this week on my outdoor cedars. In fact, I was going to use electric headger. Now knowling that it is not a good idea, I will use hand held shears. Wendy, I would like play with tender fast-growing perenials too, sometimes.

An additional question, is the regular box-wood used for 2-3 ft tall hedges OK? I have seen some finer box-woods used for 6 inch tall borders around the flower beds.

Regards, Krishan


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Wendy P
Zone: 7
Date: 02-Mar-04 05:57 PM EST

Krishan...Glad to be of help. When you're ready to do the tender perennials, let me know. They should be available in the garden centers by mid-April. You'll want to look for young, single-stemmed specimens. [They're cheaper too] I'll fill you in on the details later. With Boxwood, you might want to start with the larger varieties [sempervivum, I think]. A good source should have the particulars such as how fast each variety grows. Some of them grow REAL SLOW. They're the ones appropriate for those mini-hedges around herb and knot gardens. You want something a little more forgiving. Good luck and chat again soon.


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Pata
Zone: 3
Date: 03-Mar-04 12:57 PM EST

Why not try lavender or cliff-green (paxistima) for your mini hedge. They are both semi-evergreen, hardy in your zone and have nice delicate leaves that look more to scale for a mini hedge. Bonus lavender is fragrant and very forgiving if you cut it too far. In my cold area I have had good success with 'Munstead' variety of lavender. I plant as plugs or 2 1/2" potted plants, very economical and easy to find, look in the herb section of your local nursery. I spaced mine about 6"(15cm) apart because of the short growing season, you might find 12"(30cm) is better. First year they fill in. 2nd year trim back by half when the snow/cold weather is gone (March for you - May for me)and then clip one or two more times during the season for shape as needed. With lavender the more you trim the less likely you will get flowers but the leaves are still fragrant. My mini hedge of lavender surrounds a circular bed of mini roses with a Blanc de Coubert Rose and clematis integrifolia(blue) in the centre climbing a wooden obelisk. Very formal! It's wonderfull to caress the foliage taking in the rich scents on a hot summer night. (okay I'm getting a little crazy for spring can you tell?)

Remember to have a well drained bed. Neither plant likes to sit in wet. Good luck

PS I'm originally from Van Isle so I have a good idea of what you have to deal with. Go see Hazelwood Herb Farm outside of Nanaimo. The have some great examples of mini hedges bordering their display beds. Richard and Jacynthe are really nice people too. Check out their web site www.hazelwoodherbfarm.com


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Krishan
Zone: 6b
Date: 15-Mar-04 07:44 PM EST

Pata,

I very much appreciated your detailed advises. Will certainly try lavender, somewhere like you did. You look like a good artist. I can imagine how beautiful your circular bed of mini roses looks like.

Yes, we all are getting crazy waiting for the spring and we get crazier the closer it gets.

Well, it is good to be occassionaly crazy in our lives to enjoy it.

Regards, Krishan


Subject: RE: TOPIARY TIPS
From: Wendy Miller
Zone: 3
Date: 03-Apr-04 12:41 PM EST

Pata that sounds like a wonderful idea. Where did you situate the circular garden? I am in your area on an acreage North of Edmonton. Thanks wendy


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