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Alternatives to Buxus for pyramid "topiary"?

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Question from Stephen Holt

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I'm a new member nearing completion of a major garden overhaul. The design calls for four pyramid shapes to sit centrally in buxus-edged beds containing lavendar. Buxus and yew have been suggested for the topiary pyramids.

My question is - are there flowering alternatives? Evergreen shrubs that could be trained neatly inside a pyramid frame that would provide colour as well as structure?

Any ideas much appreciated.

  • Views: 966
  • Replies: 5
  • Posted: Wed. 23rd April 2014 16:32

Re: Alternatives to Buxus for pyramid "topiary"?

Reply from Samantha Jane

Hi there,
Very interesting question and what sounds like a lovely design. I work with topiary a lot and I know of no tree/shrub that will flower well when it is pruned that tightly to keep to the pyramid shape. All topiary will flower but either insignificant flowers or only when the shoots are left to grow a bit like a standard fuchsia or rose. The only thing that I can think of; could be used to make these pyramids look different would be lighting, maybe fairy lights, it can work well in some designs, particularly contemporary.
I would also have thought that matt green foliage would look best adjacent to the Lavender?
How about, also filling the beds with bulbs, e.g. Tulipa 'Maureen' to give interest at this time of the year.
All the best with it!
Looking forward to hearing more
Best wishes,
Samantha Jane, MIHORT, KEWDIP
sjgardendesign.com

  • Posted: Wed. 23rd April 2014 17:30

Re: Re: Alternatives to Buxus for pyramid "topiary"?

Reply from Stephen Holt

Samantha Jane
Thanks for your response and the ideas you have suggested. The pyramids will be lit, and I'll certainly your advice on bulbs - tulip Maureen looks lovely. Also I take your point about tight pruning having an effect on flowering.
All the hard landscaping in the garden is now complete, and the planting (see the plants in My Plant list) will take place in a couple of weeks. I'll post pictures when it's all done, but I'm delighted with progress to date. To be fair I can't take all the credit as I've used a garden designer - Paul Baines - to help on the overall design and specify all the planting.
What if I was to prune it into shape at the end of the growing season, then leave it to grow and flower during the spring and summer? A "loose topiary" effect around a pyramid structure I suppose you'd call it. Would that open up more options? I guess the shrub would still need to have fairly dense foliage and an essentially columnar shape, though careful training could help with the latter.
What about a compact camellia? They appear to flower in spring, so I suppose they could be pruned after flowering. But would they be too slow growing to get a pyramid effect fairly quickly?
Steve

  • Posted: Thu. 24th April 2014 09:52

Re: Re: Alternatives to Buxus for pyramid "topiary"?

Reply from ELAINE HUTSON

If you are on acidic soil, azalea 'Hino Crimson' takes well to shearing and flowers with red flower.

  • Posted: Thu. 24th April 2014 13:20

Re: Re: Re: Alternatives to Buxus for pyramid "topiary"?

Reply from Stephen Holt

Thanks Elaine - it's a lovely plant. Do you think it could be trained into a pyramid shape?

  • Posted: Fri. 25th April 2014 10:15

Re: Re: Re: Re: Alternatives to Buxus for pyramid "topiary"?

Reply from ELAINE HUTSON

I don't see why not, it is a very compact plant, slow growing and I have seen them trained as hedges.

  • Posted: Fri. 25th April 2014 13:40