An Ashhurst artist has lifted her street with a piece of inspired topiary.
Topiary is the art of sculpting hedge plants into living shaped arrangements.
Gardener and artist Deb Wolfsbauer has been maintaining a king-sized green brooch of artistic swirlery at her front gate on Ashhurst’s Oxford St for several years.
The three-dimensional shrub carving provides one of those ‘‘did I really see that’’ moments for those who drive down the street and catch a glimpse of it for the first time.
Her topiary has also become something of a talking point for locals, and Wolfsbauer jokes that it is now ’’world famous in Ashhurst’’, with online postings, photographs and comments about her handiwork popping up online from time to time.
‘‘A lot of people stop and take photos - after that, I don’t know where [the pictures] go.’’
The artwork goes down well offline as well.
‘‘We were given a gift - a box of scorched almonds addressed ‘To the special hedge people. Thanks for making the effort. It makes us smile’.’’
It could almost be called a tourist attraction. One person told Wolfsbauer that whenever someone comes to visit, they make a point of showing off the distinctive contoured green spiral artwork.
Because it is alive, maintaining the shrub sculpture
‘‘Give me the right plant, and I can't help myself.’’ Topiarist, Deb Wolfsbauer
takes commitment. ‘‘I cut it in summer every two weeks. I have to keep on top of it. If I leave it for four weeks it loses much of its pattern.’’
There are even solar-powered lights strung through the jasmoides climber.
Wolfsbauer, who works for Palmerston North gardening and property maintenance company Jungle Tamers, is also a sculptor and painter.
‘‘I didn’t plan it, I just do it. At work, I get to do a bit of topiary, so I get a lot of practice - it’s a natural progression given the mediums I work in. Give me the right plant, and I can’t help myself.’’
The evolving street-front sculp- ture began when she decided to curb the plant’s natural enthusiasm for encroachment.
‘‘I had to chop it back off the footpath. I thought I’ll just curve it up from the bottom, and it went from there.
‘‘Now, every time I clip it, I add something to it.’’
Deb Wolfsbauer trims her artistically arranged living green spiraled ‘‘street brooch’’ with a few kind cuts.