K's Garden

Building a large garden on a budget

Cloud Pruned Topiary Saturday 24 January 2015


  • Page 1 Cloud Pruned Topiary Project 2006-2016 (this page)
  • Page 2 Cloud Pruned Topiary Planting 2017 Season
  • Photo Gallery

Cloud Pruned Topiary – Up to 2016

When we moved here the North (i.e. South-facing) side of our sitting out area, and back garden, had a double hedge – Thuja at the front and Leylandii at the rear, North-side. Presumably the landscapers planted the Leylandii to give shelter to the Thuja intending that they were felled once the Thuja had got a good start. That was probably 40 years earlier and by this time the Leylandii were monstrous, and the Thuja strangled.

Thuja – Nov 2006

Thuja – Mar 2007

This photo, of the back, North-side, of the Leylandii gives an idea of their height relative to a man. We felled the Leylandii at the back in Spring 2007 …

Thuja – Apr 2007

… which left the Thuja looking rather moth-eaten.

Thuja Hedge – Topped – Feb 2009

However, between 2009 and 2011 the back of the Thuja recovered well, resprouting from the trunk, although not the bottom six-feet or so. We have since planted some new Thuja, at the back and between the existing ones, to fill in that bottom 6′ gap.

Thuja Hedge – Feb 2011

By the end of November 2016 the recovery of the back face had been very good, and we had been cutting it, like a hedge, for a couple of years.

Thuja – Nov 2016

So we now have a 20′ tall curved Thuja hedge which shields the sitting out area of our garden from the North wind. In front of it there were a few “nothing special” shrubs which flowered nicely for a week or two, and then look tatty the rest of the year. Their feet, at the base of the hedge, were dry of course, so there wasn’t much we could easily plant there now, retrospectively.

There was a large Cherry tree, planted “in” the hedge, which looked spectacular in Spring. It fell down, quite unexpectedly, in July 2013, which has created a gap and the opportunity for us to do something different.

Cherry Flowering - Apr 2009

Cherry Flowering – Apr 2009

Terrace Cherry May 2013

The old, mature, Cherry in flower.

Cherry Tree Down - Jul 2013

Cherry Tree Down – Jul 2013

Dec 2014

The Site – Dec 2014

I started chopping back the face of the Thuja hedge in Autumn 2014, and slimming the shrubs ready to try to move them in Spring 2015 (they aren’t precious, it will need a digger to get them out, and I don’t want to bring that into the garden until the soil has firmed up so I don’t wreck the lawn!). So that is my starting point.

Preparation – Sep 2015

Moving a Shrub! – Sep 2015

Box Cuttings - taken in Oct 2010

Box Cuttings – taken in Oct 2010

A few years ago I took a large number of Box cuttings because we fancied planting a Parterre or Knot Garden. We still aren’t sure what we will do with the area of the garden that we planned that for … but that leaves me several hundred Box plants looking for a home!

Box Cuttings Potting-Up - Feb 2012

Box Cuttings Potting-Up – Feb 2012

Spring, a year later, they were ready for potting up.

Box Over Wintering in Greenhouse - Dec 2014

Box Over Wintering in Greenhouse – Dec 2014

Three seasons later they are decent sized plants. In fact they’ve been a bit confined in their pots, so might well have been ready after only two season. I have over wintered them in the greenhouse (where the Tomato crop goes in Summer!) to keep the wet off them.

I’ve been worried about Box Blight, so I think that the foot of this hedge, which will be drier than my normal clay soil, might be a good site. It has a slight downward slope, so I think I will put a French drain in to make sure that the drainage is as good as it can be.

Next page (Planting – 2017)

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