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.”
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.
The next step was to carefully round the top out so that I could get an idea what the final shape would be.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the project finished for the time being. As with any pruning or shaping project, it will never be finished.
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.
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