ISSUE 57  |  Haberdashery

Topiary with a Softer Side

January 30, 2013 12:00 PM

BY Janet Hall

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.

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Above: The Small Olive Plant Topiary comes in a four-inch rounded terra cotta pot; $49 at Viva Terra.

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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.[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”951″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Rosemary Topiary”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”933″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: The Rosemary Topiary stands 18 inches tall; $50 at Fresh Topiary. For more topiary ideas, see the antique and garden shop of Oliver Gustav.

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Above: An 18-inch-high Organic Meyer Lemon Topiary for an indoor lemon tree is $95 from Viva Terra. See our earlier post, DIY: Potted Indoor Citrus, for tips on growing your own indoor lemon tree.

(N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published September 24, 2012.)