Plant in the wrong place? Make a topiary

Mabel and I were talking about improvements that needed to be made in her beautiful back yard garden. She stopped and pointed, “John, that pretty cedar tree is in exactly the wrong place next to the walkway. I hate to say it, but I guess we need to take it out.”

Turn a small tree into a topiary. Study the tree before starting

Turn a small tree into a topiary. Study the tree before starting

I agreed that it was, indeed, a pretty little tree and we thought about it for a while. Finally, I said, “why don’t we turn a liability into an asset? Let’s make it a topiary.”   We decided that that would be a good idea and that we had nothing to lose. I studied the tree for a while and then made a very deliberate cut—taking off the top.

After studying the topiary project, cut the top out of the plant.

After studying the topiary project, cut the top out of the plant.

The next step was to carefully round the top out so that I could get an idea what the final shape would be.

cut the tips to round off the top of the topiary

cut the tips to round off the top of the topiary

I decided that the tree would make a nice two tiered topiary and then began cutting the lower limbs between what would be the upper and the lower levels of the finished product.

cut the lower limbs to form the lower tier of the topiary

cut the lower limbs to form the lower tier of the topiary

The next picture shows where to trim the tips of the limbs. When the tips are cut to shape, they will branch out and thicken up. This will cause the tier, with time, to turn into a full, well shaped mass of green. The cuts were made right above the thumbnail in the picture.

Trim the ends of the stems to round out the topiary and cause it to branch and thicken

Trim the ends of the stems to round out the topiary and cause it to branch and thicken

With a well-sharpened pair of shears, I patiently cut every tip, shaping as I went. I was looking first at the shape as I cut and secondly, with a picture in my head at the shape that the project would turn into after a year or so.

Cutting the tips from the new topiary

Cutting the tips from the new topiary

Here’s the project finished for the time being. As with any pruning or shaping project, it will never be finished.

The topiary project will never be finished, but here's a good start

The topiary project will never be finished, but here’s a good start

Further maintenance on the topiary will be to look at it as it grows and to cut the new growth as it grows out of bounds. Patience and meditation are required.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MAX Hayes
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:44:09

    Great use of a not-thought thru planting, or a plant from someone else’s
    plantings.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Pruning a Japanese maple | Johntheplantman's stories, musings, and gardening.
  3. Trackback: Before and After—Revisiting the Sites of Articles Past | Johntheplantman's stories, musings, and gardening.

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