Topiary

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Topiary is the art of creating sculptures by clipping trees and bushes (shrubs). The shrubs used in topiary are evergreen, have small leaves, and produce dense foliage. Common plants used in topiary include bay laurel, holly bushes, myrtle and privet hedges. Shaped wire cages are sometimes used in modern topiary but traditional topiary depends on using special scissors with patience and a steady hand.

History[change | edit source]

The word derives from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener. A friend of Julius Caesar introduced Rome to the topiary. In Japan and China they have “cloud pruning” where they cut bushes into the shapes of clouds and “Karikomi”, where they cut large shrubs into curved shapes and objects. Bonsai is a form of topiary. During the 16th century in Europe typical traditional topiary included geometric shapes: balls, pyramids, cones, and spirals. In the 20th century Walt Disney used topiaries in the form of his cartoon characters to decorate his theme parks.