T is for Topiary
I didn't see Edward Scissorhands around here but I admire the gardener who has a natural gift for topiary art. These topiaries are part of the Zen-like gardens near the lagoon and chapel at Greenbelt Park, a park in the middle of a mall complex. Topiaries are not as popular in the Philippines compared to other Asian countries that I'm always delighted to see them.
Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, perhaps geometric or fanciful; the term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way. As an art form, it is a type of living sculpture. The word derives from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, topiarius, a creator of topia or "places", a Greek word that Romans also applied to fictive indoor landscapes executed in fresco. No doubt the use of a Greek word betokens the art's origins in the Hellenistic world that was influenced by Persia, for neither Classical Greece nor Republican Rome developed any sophisticated tradition of artful pleasure grounds.
European topiary dates from Roman times. Elaborate figures of animals, inscriptions, cyphers and obelisks in clipped greens were first seen in Roman gardens.
The clipping and shaping of shrubs and trees in China and Japan have been practiced with equal rigor, but for different reasons. The goal is to achieve an artful expression of the "natural" form of aged pines, given character by the forces of wind and weather. Their most concentrated expressions are in the related arts of Chinese penjing and Japanese bonsai.
Japanese cloud-pruning is closest to the European art: the cloud-like forms of clipped growth are designed to be best appreciated after a fall of snow. Japanese Zen gardens (karesansui, dry rock gardens) make extensive use of Karikomi (a topiary technique of clipping shrubs and trees into large curved shapes or sculptures) and Hako-zukuri (shrubs clipped into boxes and straight lines). Wiki source
Linking to ABC Wednesday