Hidden beneath my preference for natural-looking gardens, I have a weak spot for topiary. Relaxed topiary, that is.
Relaxed topiary; is that an oxymoron? Topiary is defined as "the horticultural practice of training live plants by clipping the foliage to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes." There is a category of topiary that offers the elegance of controlled shapes with a more natural feel. Here's a round up of favorites on the softer side of topiary.
Above: Topiary is a specialty of Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunkport, Maine. Two greenhouses are devoted to topiaries grown in custom, hand-thrown terra cotta pots.
Above: Myrtle Topiary (Myrtus Communus 'Compacta') at Snug Harbor Farm. Currently available at the garden shop or by phone order (an online shop is coming soon). For a primer on topiary care and feeding, read the blog post: Myrtle Topiaries Demystified.
Above: Creeping Fig Topiary (Ficus Pumila) available at the Snug Harbor Farm garden shop or by phone order.
Above: Lavendar Topiary (Lavendula 'Dentata') available at the Snug Harbor Farm garden shop or by phone order.
Above: The Small Olive Plant Topiary comes in a four-inch rounded terra cotta pot; $49 at Viva Terra.
Above: A Meyer Lemon Topiary is $94.95 from Jackson & Perkins. The indoor lemon tree comes in a 6-inch terra cotta pot with a saucer.
(N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published September 24, 2012.)