A cut above – The top topiary gardens you should visit
Keen to try your hand at topiary? Get some ideas from the experts at these top topiary gardens. Amazing living sculptures are at every corner, from giant chess pieces to mazes, animals and even Welsh hats…here are our favourite gardens that have shaped up to be truly inspirational:
A team of gardeners are busy trimming from summer to October to keep this castle’s topiary in shape. Dome shapes, birds and archways are dotted around the gardens, including its famous ‘Welsh Hats’ topiary. The Yew hedges that create the topiary aren’t just impressive however; they’re used as guides by lesser horseshoe bats when they’re flying at night.
30 acres of themed gardens are waiting to be discovered at Capel Manor. Formal topiary is featured in the gardens surrounding the Georgian manor house and Victorian stables, but the showstopper is the Italianate Maze. Can you find your way out?
Featuring over five miles of Box hedging arranged in intricate patterns to create individual formal gardens, Pitmedden Garden, 14 miles north of Aberdeen, blooms with over 40,000 plants. Stroll down the topiary avenue with its geometric columns and see what you discover.
The most famous topiary garden in the UK, Levens Hall in Kendal, Cumbria, is actually the oldest and most extensive topiary garden in the world. A living sculpture gallery that’s over 300 years old, it has over 100 pieces each clipped to unique design. You’ll find abstract and geometric shapes, giant chess pieces, peacocks and sculptures such as the Howard Lion, Great Umbrellas and even a Jug of Morocco Ale.
Bickling has inspiration of a musical variety with four ‘grand piano’ sculptures in its gardens and 20 acorn-shaped Yews. The giant ancient Yew hedges lining the driveway to the house are so big it takes over two weeks to trim them using mechanical cutters and a cherry picker, with constant attention to line and form.
Once home to a menagerie of topiary animals including a cat, sheep, chicken, horse and peacock, Chastleton House’s ring of Yew, is now pruned into cloud shapes. You will still see a topiary train here and a rabbit cut from Holly.
500 metres of winding paths await you at the Cliveden topiary maze made of over 1,000 two-metre high Yew trees. If you find your way out you’ll be treated to topiary shapes including peacocks, tall bottles and even a sculpture that looks like a flying saucer.
One of the best known art and craft gardens in Britain, topiary birds can be found nestling in the gardens of this 17th Century manor house, along with Hornbeam ‘lollypop’ topiary, pompom Holly hedging and all manor of neat geometric shapes. Each of Hidcote’s gardens or ‘outdoor rooms’ has characters and themes, achieved through the use of Box hedges, Hornbeam and Yew.