Topiaries are somewhat unusual in the United States: they seem more formal and maybe even stuffy. Americans like instant gratification and so may be less interested in garden projects that might take years to complete, which is certainly an issue when training and pruning a plant into submission. The French love topiaries, “pruning” means “gardening” to them. They love gardens that show the involvement of the gardener and the only way a plant is going to take on the shape of a perfect pyramid is if there is a gardener giving it a lot of attention. A well maintained topiary serves as a visual focal point and is a way to introduce form, structure art and even humor into a garden. Formally trimmed boxwood hedges are probably the most familiar type of topiary. Their simple, smooth lines provide a neutral backdrop for colors and textures in the garden itself.
Eye of the Day now has in stock a number of topiaries in various shapes and sizes. We have planted some in large Italian terra cotta pots and, of course, we have large French Anduze vases and time-honored wooden Versailles planters that would be perfect homes for these whimsical trees. As they are already tortured into shape, you have only to keep them trimmed to be the star of your neighborhood.
If you live in the Santa Barbara area or if you are planning a visit, Lotusland is home to a fantastic topiary garden. It features twenty-six circus animals including a camel, gorilla, giraffe and seals as well as chess pieces and geometric shapes. Check out www.lotusland.org