1 TIERED TRIPLE CROWN
This tiered “triple crown” has probably taken 30-40 years to grow, and would cost thousands of pounds to buy at this size. However, this shape can be formed by clipping away to the stem at regular intervals on plants of any size. The bold could even attempt it on a mature pyramid or cone. The Romantic Garden Nursery near Norwich (01603 261488; www. romantic-garden-nursery.co.uk) is the place to go for stylish topiary, as admirers of their Chelsea Flower Show stands will know. They stock box (Buxus) and yew (Taxus) triple crowns from £145, as well as wire frames for training box, yew and other evergreens into bird shapes (from £7.10 each). 2 BOX BALLS Langley Boxwood Nursery near Liss in Hampshire (01730 894467; www.boxwood. co.uk) supplies a wide range of box varieties including Buxus harlandii (gaining in popularity because of its apparent resistance to box blight) in bare-rooted 20-30cm hedging plants at £2.75 each, and B. sempervirens balls from £9.50 for a 15cm diameter plant. They also run topiary courses. 3 BEECH HEDGE Beech’s retention of dried coppery leaves until the new ones push through in spring makes it ideal for a winter hedge. Ashridge Trees in Castle Cary in Somerset (01963 359444; www. ashridgetrees.co.uk) has an offer on its bare-root beech hedge packs. Sturdy three-year-old 100-120cm plants – as near to “instant” hedging as you can get – are £93.81 for 50 plants. It recommends five staggered to a metre in a wider hedge or three per metre in a single line). Fifty 80100cm plants are £69.77. 4 TOPIARY SHEARS Topiary shears, which are especially suited to cutting through soft new growth as opposed to wood, are very pleasing to use. The super-sharp, pleasantlysprung blades can be operated with one hand, leaving the other free to “fluff up” the shorn growth. Burgon & Ball (0114 233 8262; www.burgonandball.com) sells an extensive range, some with coloured or leather handles, from £18.95, plus topiary hedging shears (£28.95) and sharpeners (£4.95).