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Notes from a Head Gardener ~ Chapter 2 ~ Topiary Trials and Triumphs ~ 19/6/2017

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Topiary is my number one and longest standing skill. It is my party trick and if it were an Olympic sport I would hope to represent Great Britain (probably to be edged out of the Gold medal winning position by Jake Hobson but trouncing the boys at Warner Trees to ultimately take silver 🥈). 

This is a daydream caused by extreme heat but I am very experienced and pride myself on being a confident topiary artist. 
So, last week, when faced with the twice-yearly trim of the yew pyramids pictured above I had two choices: spend eight hours trimming them by hand with my excellent Niwake hand shears or fire up the brand new Stihl lighter-than-air (for five minutes or so and then it gets a bit weightier) hedge trimmer and save four hours of precious June gardening time. I chose the hedge trimmer for the very first time. I was nervous. What if I sneezed and took the end of my nose off or, worse still, the top of a pyramid? I need not have worried. By pyramid number 6 I had my technique almost perfected and after I had completed the final one, number 7, I wanted to go straight back to number 1 so that I could iron out any slightly less than perfect bits. 
I thought better of this almost immediately. The beauty of topiary is that (barring aforementioned sneezing incidents) the foliage will start to grow back very shortly after the trim. These yew pyramids will be needing their second trim at the far end of the summer so that they stay looking sharp throughout Autumn and Winter. This is when I can get them looking spot-on perfect. In theory there will be more time at the end of the summer. In practice I seem to be fairly flat out for much of the year. I wouldn’t have it any other way… keeps me out of mischief!