Saturday, April 2, 2011

Midcentury Topiary

I am wild about funky shaped bushes outside of midcentury houses.
Some of my favorite shapes are called Cloud, Pom Pom (or Ponpom), The Platter, and Swirl (not so much the Spiral, in fact, not at all).  There are a lot of really great specimens in the neighborhoods of Colorado.  I will try to get some pictures of my own soon, but for now here are a few I found on the web.

Cloud (this is simply fantastic)


The three photos above were taken from the blog “Printer and Piemaker.”  I suggest visiting the site (the link is to anything on the blog tagged “topiary”) to view some great “real life” photos of topiary bushes in San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods.  Thankfully there are no animal shapes –ugh.
The house across the street from us has some really great bushes, that are just kind of amoeba-like in shape.  Eventually I will head over there to see if they’ll let me take a look (and pictures!).  Maybe they’ll even give me some tips.  They’ve obviously been around for decades though (they’re huge!), so who knows how much information they’ll have.
I spent this morning looking for good tutorials (video or picture illustrated) on trimming bushes in the Midcentury Modern style.  You know how many I found?
Exactly zero.
What the what?!  I scaled back my search to simply “topiary,” but most of the tutorials were either Martha Stewart types creating dorky looking table decorations, or people who were really proud of their pig and giraffe bushes.  There was also quite a bit of Bonsai stuff, and while I would love to get into that someday, I just wanna start trimming my bushes.
I have two low lying Junipers, some Sea Green Junipers, and a Golden Tam Juniper that I planted two years ago.  I think they are big enough to start shaping, but I don’t want to ruin them by using incorrect tools, starting the shaping process incorrectly (cutting the branches wrong), or beginning before the bushes are ready (both time of season and overall age and size of the plant).
Here are some photos.
CIMG0938 Sea Green Junipers after planting. CIMG4693 Two years later.

CIMG0956 Old Gold Juniper right after planting. CIMG4702 Two years later.

Some of the bushes have flourished.
CIMG4695 Others have not. CIMG4697 Some really have not.  Colorado can be really hard on plants!

CIMG0953 Of the five boxwoods I planted to create a new hedgerow to mimic the one in front of the windows (see below)… CIMG4701
…only one sad plant remains.  And, mysteriously, cacti have started growing in this spot!

Here’s the nice, mature boxwood up by the house.  It’s pretty easy to keep shaped by simply hitting it with a trimmer a couple times a year.
So anyway… I’m on a quest for topiary instruction, and I hope to start shaping my bushes soon.  I’ll post more photos from houses around Denver and Boulder in the future, and I’ll be sure to share any information I find regarding proper trimming and other tips!

In memory of the fallen.

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