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Hi there it's, Alexandra from the Middlesized Garden, Youtube channel and blog, and I'm here in this beautiful private garden in the Kent countryside, with head gardener. Jim Treby, to talk about the best shrubs for topiary.

Topiary is something that we often associate with grand gardens, but actually it can make all the difference in small and middle-sized gardens because it provides shape and structure, especially in the winter.

. It's. The art of clipping shrubs into shapes., The most common plant to use for topiary is box or boxwood, but here in the United Kingdom we & # 39. Ve had a lot of problems with box blight and also with box tree caterpillar.

So we've, been looking for alternatives to topiary shrubs.. Even if you don't have box blight where you are, it's, a good idea to have your different shrubs for topiary and evergreen interest, because there's, lovely leaf contrast and it & # 39.

Ll. Look more interesting, but also, if you have lots of the same plant in your garden and then a pest or disease does come along. It'll just rip through the garden and devastate it.. We'll use a mix of common and botanical names when we're talking, but I will put the correct botanic names in the description below with a time stamp, because plants are called different things in different countries and you need the Botanic name to be sure that you're, getting the shrubs that really work for your topiary.

, So Jim. What's, your favorite shrub for topiary. For topiary? It's box, but unfortunately, in this country we have seen so many problems with pests with box blight and the box tree caterpillar. So now I have started to use alternatives.

I mean box is ideal because it's, slow growing. You can get away with only having to trim it once a year and it forms a very tight hedge and it is the ultimate topiary shrub. But unfortunately, I think the time is up in this country for it.

. The biggest threat is the box tree caterpillar because it does go through the plants very, very quickly.. This year I've had the first case of it, thankfully, on just one of the pots or two of the pots on the terrace.

So I was able to move them away to the far end of the of the estate and actually spray them with an insecticide, which I don't normally like to use, but in this instance, because we have so much box here.

It was something I had to do and thankfully it seems to have got it under control at the moment.. So what's? Your number one alternative for box, topiary Yew. 100 %. It's, a fantastic plant. It's. Very robust it doesn't have really any problem with pests or disease.

The only thing it doesn't, like is its roots sitting in wet soils other than that is more than happy anywhere.. You can prune it as hard as you want and practically into any shape. You want it's, a fantastic alternative.

. You've got the English yew, which you can shape more or less into any shape you want, and then you have the Irish yew, which is the upright fastigiate growing. So it all depends on what type of topiary you want to create.

. If you do just want upright columns, then I'd, recommend the Irish yew. But generally, if you want balls or hedges, it would be the normal standard. English yew, (, Taxus baccata ), A lot of people. Think of yew as being for very large hedges, but, as you can see behind me, they actually can actually form quite low compact hedges.

. This hedge here is actually only three years old. The trick with yew is to buy plants at least 60 to 80 centimetres tall. When you buy them root, balled ones throughout the autumn., They establish a lot better than a smaller plants.

. For some reason, pot grown smaller yews, don't seem to establish very well, and you have a lot higher failure rate with them. And if you don't want such a tall hedge, it's. Fine, because you can cut them down once they're planted to the height that you want them, and you've more or less got an instant hedge.

. So what's? Your number two alternative for box topiary Generally for balls large balls, would be the pit spawn again it's. Another fantastic plant, doesn't, have very many pests. It can suffer from mildew or leaf spot, which again is which is the fungus which can be treated quite easily.

That again can be pruned very hard. It's; drought, tolerant it's very vigorous along with the? U and uh the pit of spawn you have to trim them twice a year. Just trim them in spring trim them in autumn where the box, you can trim mid summer or you know late summer, and it will be fine till the following year.

So they are slightly highly more highly maintenance, but as far as uh they go, they are fantastic substitutes. Uh. One thing i have found with them: they have a very, very vigorous root system, so be careful when you are choosing them in the nursery to check they're, not pot bound because they do tend to become you know they come pop down very Easily so make sure you get good good, healthy plants and also they can be a little bit frost tender.

So i wouldn't plant them in an area of the garden that's, a frost pocket that continuously, you know, has frost throughout the day throughout the winter and in general. If you know you're, going to have a very hard frost, it wouldn't, hurt, placing the fleece over them just give them a little bit of protection, but other than that they're fantastic and are there any Other plants that you'd suggest we use for topiary that aren't box.

Yes, you nominus comes in different varieties. You have the anonymous fratuni eye. We & # 39. Ve got the emerald gravity uh here, which is basically very similar to the silver queen very light coloured leaf.

That is more of a creeper type of anomalous forms a fantastic, very low hedge, but it takes time with pruning and quite a few years to actually establish it as a low hedge. The uh, the other unominous, which is the japonica, is more the more vigorous grain which is more ideal for hedges, this size, but again uh pests and disease.

Resistance is very high. I don't, overly, have many problems with them. They do tend to lose their leaves in the coldest of winter, but they grow back perfectly fine in spring and again they're, very drought.

Swollen all these plants are, you know, quite suited to the dry climate, especially in the southeast. Here that we have in england and are there any plants that are often recommended for topiary, but which you personally don't feel are worth recommending.

Yeah i mean there's, the common privet uh. That's. I mean it's very vigorous privet and it's very loose growing. You can top-ray it into a bowl and into a square hedge, but you're. Looking at at least three times a year trimming that to actually keep it looking, how you want it to it's, very high maintenance and again with holly holly it's.

It's very loose it. You know they're quite loose plants. They're, quite slow, growing holly, so you don't have to prune them as much as you would with privet, but you won't, get the tight compact tofu.

You would from you or peter, spawn or again box, and what about japanese, holly or ilex cranata, because that was recommended quite a lot as a substitute for box when these first problems arose a few years ago, yeah it's it when it first Came out or sort of become known in this country, probably about six or seven years ago, it was meant to be a good replacement for box.

We, the previous gardens before i were here before i came here, replaced some box blight plants with it in our rose garden. It hasn't done well at all. It hasn't established it hasn't formed a tight hedge.

It always looks a bit yellowy peaky, very thin. It's. According to the rhs it & # 39, s meant to grow in any soil, any situation, but it just doesn't five in our garden and it's very expensive. So personally, i wouldn't for myself purchase it again.

Jim also told me about viburnum tinus, which you can see here, clipped into lollipops, just behind the box balls. But jim said that these are good. If you're, going to have a rounded shape like a ball or a lollipop, but that they wouldn't be any good for cones and spirals.

So they're, not that flexible in their use. And while it's, not strictly topiary, i love what you've done to this conifer hedge and you've sort of sculpted it. Can you tell me a bit more about that? This hedge uh was put in by the previous gardeners.

It's, a fantastic addition to the cotton garden. It consists of the main lay landing i hedge behind uh, with blocks of thua conifers, which are just in individual trees. They've, been trimmed into blocks uh in front and the lighter colour of the throat against the dark green of the laylandia.

I've just already added to the effect i found visiting private gardens so inspiring and a lot of them either never or very rarely open to the public. So i've, put together a playlist of private gardens, which you'll, find at the end of this video and if you'd, like more tips, ideas and inspiration for your garden then do subscribe to the middlesized garden.

Youtube channel and thank you for watching goodbye hi there. It's, alexandra from the middlesized garden, youtube channel and blog, and i'm here in this beautiful private garden in the kent countryside, with head gardener.

Jim treby, to talk about the best shrubs for topiary tapri is something that we often associate with grand gardens, but actually it can make all the difference in small and middle-sized gardens because it provides shape and structure, especially in the winter.

It's. The art of clipping shrubs into shapes, the most common plant to use for topiary is box or boxwood, but here in the united kingdom we & # 39. Ve had a lot of problems with box blight and also with box tree caterpillar.

So we've, been looking for alternatives to toppery shrubs. Even if you don't have box blight where you are, it's, a good idea to have your different shrubs for topiary, because there's, lovely leaf contrast and it & # 39.

Ll look more interesting, but also, if you have lots of the same plant in your garden and if a pest or disease does come along, it'll just rip through the garden and devastate it. We'll use a mix of common and botanical names when we're talking, but i will put the correct botanic names in the description below with a time stamp, because plants are called different things in different countries and you need the Botanic name to be sure that you're, getting the shrubs that really works for your topiary, so jim.

What's, your favorite shrub for topiary for topri? It's box, but unfortunately, in this country we haven't seen so many problems with the pests with box blight and the box tree caterpillar. Now i have started to use alternatives.

I mean box is ideal because it's, slow growing. You can get away with only having to trim it once a year and it forms a very tight hedge and you know it's. It is the ultimate topi, but unfortunately i think the time is up in this country.

For it the biggest threat is the box tree caterpillar because it does go through the through the plants very very quickly. This year i've had the first case of it, thankfully, on one of the pots or two of the pots on the terrace, so i was able to move them away uh to the far end of the of the estate and actually spray them With an insecticide which i don't normally like to be using, but in this instant because we have so much box here, it was something i had to do and thankfully it seems to have got it under control at the moment.

So what's? Your number one alternative for box topiary, you 100! It's, a fantastic plant um it's. Very robust doesn't, have really any problem with pests or disease. The only thing it doesn't, like is its roots sitting in wet soils other than that is more than happy.

It's uh. You can prune it as hard as you want uh and in practically into any shape. You want it's, a fantastic alternative. You & # 39, ve, got the english? U, which you can shape in more or less into any shape you want.

But then you have the r issue, which is the upright first digits growing. So, if all depending on what type of topi you want to create, if you do just want upright columns, then i'd, recommend the the rsu.

But generally, if you want balls hedges, it would be the normal standard, english, texas, piccata, a lot of people. Think of you as very large hedges, but, as you can see behind me, they actually can actually form quite low compact hedges with them, and this hedge here is actually only only three years old.

The trick with you is to buy plants at least 60 to 80. Centimetres tall when you buy them root board ones throughout the autumn. They are established a lot better than a smaller plants. For some reasons, pot grown, smaller use, don't seem to establish very well, and you have a lot a higher failure rate with them and if you don't want such a tall hedge, it's.

Fine, because you can cut them down once they're planted to the height that you want them, and you've more or less got an instant hedge. So what's? Your number two alternative for box topiary generally for balls large balls, would be the pit spawn again it's.

Another fantastic plant, doesn't, have very many pests. It can suffer from mildew or leaf spot, which again is which is the fungus which can be treated quite easily. That again can be pruned very hard.

It's; drought, tolerant it's very vigorous along with the? U and uh the pit of spawn you have to trim them twice a year. Just trim them in spring trim them in autumn where the box, you can trim mid summer or you know late summer, and it will be fine till the following year.

So they are slightly highly more highly maintenance, but as far as uh they go, they are fantastic substitutes. Uh. One thing i have found with them: they have a very, very vigorous root system, so be careful when you are choosing them in the nursery to check they're, not pot bound because they do tend to become you know they come pop down very Easily so make sure you get good good, healthy plants and also they can be a little bit frost tender.

So i wouldn't plant them in an area of the garden that's, a frost pocket that continuously, you know, has frost throughout the day throughout the winter and in general. If you know you're, going to have a very hard frost, it wouldn't, hurt, placing the fleece over them just give them a little bit of protection, but other than that they're fantastic and are there any Other plants that you'd suggest we use for topiary that aren't box.

Yes, you nominus comes in different varieties. You have the anonymous fratuni eye. We & # 39. Ve got the emerald gravity uh here, which is basically very similar to the silver queen very light coloured leaf.

That is more of a creeper type of anomalous forms a fantastic, very low hedge, but it takes time with pruning and quite a few years to actually establish it as a low hedge. The uh, the other unominous, which is the japonica, is more the more vigorous grain which is more ideal for hedges, this size, but again uh pests and disease.

Resistance is very high. I don't, overly, have many problems with them. They do tend to lose their leaves in the coldest of winter, but they grow back perfectly fine in spring and again they're, very drought.

Swollen all these plants are, you know, quite suited to the dry climate, especially in the southeast. Here that we have in england and are there any plants that are often recommended for topiary, but which you personally don't feel are worth recommending.

Yeah i mean there's, the common privet uh. That's. I mean it's very vigorous privet and it's very loose growing. You can top-ray it into a bowl and into a square hedge, but you're. Looking at at least three times a year trimming that to actually keep it looking, how you want it to it's, very high maintenance and again with holly holly it's.

It's very loose it. You know they're quite loose plants. They're, quite slow, growing holly, so you don't have to prune them as much as you would with privet, but you won't, get the tight compact tofu.

You would from you or peter, spawn or again box, and what about japanese, holly or ilex cranata, because that was recommended quite a lot as a substitute for box when these first problems arose a few years ago, yeah it's it when it first Came out or sort of become known in this country, probably about six or seven years ago, it was meant to be a good replacement for box.

We, the previous gardens before i were here before i came here, replaced some box blight plants with it in our rose garden. It hasn't done well at all. It hasn't established it hasn't formed a tight hedge.

It always looks a bit yellowy peaky, very thin. It's. According to the rhs it & # 39, s meant to grow in any soil, any situation, but it just doesn't five in our garden and it's very expensive. So personally, i wouldn't for myself purchase it again.

Jim also told me about viburnum tinus, which you can see here, clipped into lollipops, just behind the box balls. But jim said that these are good. If you're, going to have a rounded shape like a ball or a lollipop, but that they wouldn't be any good for cones and spirals.

So they're, not that flexible in their use. And while it's, not strictly topiary, i love what you've done to this conifer hedge and you've sort of sculpted it. Can you tell me a bit more about that? This hedge uh was put in by the previous gardeners.

It's, a fantastic addition to the cotton garden. It consists of the main lay landing i hedge behind uh, with blocks of thua conifers, which are just in individual trees. They've, been trimmed into blocks uh in front and the lighter colour of the throat against the dark green of the laylandia.

I've just already added to the effect i found visiting private gardens so inspiring and a lot of them either never or very rarely open to the public. So i've, put together a playlist of private gardens, which you'll, find at the end of this video and if you'd, like more tips, ideas and inspiration for your garden then do subscribe to the middlesized garden.

Youtube channel and thank you for watching goodbye.

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