New to the topiary - needing preliminary help

sonjaBA(Denmark)September 30, 2003

Hi- I am growing some plants inside in pots for winter - lemon, orange, olive and rosmary - I would like to cut them for a orangery. Where do I start - with which branches? And how high should the tree be before I start? Does the tree grow out at the sniped of branch from the trunk? (my olice is about 50 cm high) - Thxs

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I guess the reason you haven't received any answers yet, is that it is very difficult to describe precisely the procedures necessary to shape the plants. However,it is not a difficult technique though and only requires your imagination. If you have time to spend in a library, research a book on topiaries. I delight in looking at old European gardens and try to copy them in miniature form. One hint I can give you is this. You can begin with simple shapes likes the standard and the conical shape. One hint I can give you is this. When you look at a plant, think of a large lollipop or an inverted ice cream cone. Try to use your imagination and superimpose it over the plant. In the case of the lollipop, remove any branches and leaves that fall along the handle portion exposing the trunk. In the case of the conical shape, again you can superimpose the 'cone' over the plant, and trim off branches and leaves in that shape. A better method actually is to simply take a piece of string and tie it at top and then take the other end and take it to the rims of the pot. Trim off the leaves that fall outside of the line. Repeat all through out the plant.

The plants can be any height you'd it to be. I suppose that would mean anything that you can manage to move about.

You can train plants from a very small plant or from a large plant. It doesn't matter. A young plant is more maleable and so it is easily shaped. An older/larger plant has a more woody trunk and therefore you cannot do anything to the shape of that trunk. With rosemary for example, I like it as a standard topiary and as a conical shaped topiary. I don't think you can get it any higher than say 3 feet, but generally speaking it is easier to get a straight trunk from it, by tying it to a stake every few inches to keep it straight.

Oranges and Lemons. They are really nice if left somewhat 'natural'. That is a semi-round shape, keep the trunk exposed like the regular standard topiary and trim around the plant to make it look round but not too strictly round.

I'm not not an expert on olives, so don't really know how olives will behave if it is cut down to the trunk. Perhaps you can request this info elsewhere in the forum.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2003 at 1:10PM
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Thank you so much Ianna - for the encouraging information - I guess it is not so complex - just requiring patience and the ability to learn from the first few mistakes. Warm regards. Sonja

    Bookmark   October 8, 2003 at 1:44PM
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