Have you seen our new Topiary Art page?Print
We’ve recently branched out (if you’ll excuse the pun!) into a greater range of topiary art, which is proving very popular with customers. We have a series of designs which are usually in stock, but can also create bespoke designs to order. They make ideal gifts for all occasions; in fact, a large proportion of our commissions so far have been for loved ones, to celebrate special birthdays and other events.
The interest that’s been shown in our collection reminds us that the art of topiary, which has existed for centuries, lives on. We thought we’d take a look at just a few of the more famous examples that can be seen around the world.
The Samban-Lei Sekpil is in Manipur in India. It’s quoted by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the tallest topiary in the world and is a beautiful series of open umbrellas and spheres. Continuously shaped by hedge plant specialist Moirangthem Okendra Kumbi since 1983, the living sculpture is formed from Duranta erecta, a popular flowering shrub in Manipur and more usually used for fencing gardens. Proving that everyone has to start somewhere, the gardener’s sister originally began growing the shrub in a small mustard oil can. When it entered the world record books in 1999, it was 15m (50ft) and had 35 steps. Its last recorded height, according to the internet, is 18.6m (61ft), with a staggering 44 steps.
While we’re on record-breaking topiary and a bit closer to home, a must-visit for any topiary lovers is Levens Hall, a manor house near Kendal in Cumbria. The Guinness Book of Records recognises its topiary garden as being the oldest in the world, first created by a French gardener, Guillaume Beaumont who laid it out between 1689 and 1712. It’s believed the gardens today retain “almost all of the essential elements of the completed scheme as shown on maps of the park and gardens of 1730”. There are over 100 sculptures in the gardens, some formed from trees and bushes over 300 years old, and include many popular topiary species such as Yew (Taxus baccata), Golden Yew (Taxus baccata Aurea), and various forms of Box (Buxus sempervirens). There are plenty of inspiring examples of abstract and geometric shapes, but also more literal figures such as chess pieces, Queen Elizabeth and her Maids of Honour and a jug of Morocco Ale, as well as four peacocks! The topiary takes months of specialist trimming, from September onwards each year, and a hydraulic lift is needed to reach the highest points.
Dogs are a very popular subject for topiarists (have you seen our Poodle, for example?). If you are in Spain at any stage, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is well worth a visit, not least to see what’s thought to be the world’s largest topiary canine sculpture. Created by artist Jeff Koons in 1992, the sculpture called simply ‘Puppy’ looms over the museum on the outdoor terrace. The frame of the West Highland Terrier is created from stainless steel and it is carpeted in flowering bedding plants, including Marigolds, Begonias, Impatiens, Petunias and Lobelias. It stands at an imposing 43ft (13m) as it guards the museum’s entrance and continues to grow…
While not many of us have the time, money and space to go to these extremes, it does go to show that creating art with trees lives on! Why not contact us to discuss your ideas if you are interested in a unique living sculpture for your own, or someone else’s, garden?