Topiary is the fascinating and extraordinary art of cutting trees and shrubs into quaint and imaginative shapes. It derives from Topiarius, and originally had a much wider meaning, referring to ornamental gardening in general. Its Latin roots give us a clue as to the great antiquity of the craft, and indeed, the history of topiary is as long as that of gardening itself. The dictates of fashion or the need for economy may have affected topiary’s popularity, but whenever there has been the opportunity and luxury to indulge in plants for ornament, then topiary has never been far away. It has had an enduring appeal, and we need to go far back in time to discover its origins.
MYTHOLOGY OF TOPIARY
Apollo, Daphne and The Rich History of Bay Laurel Trees
Mountain laurel shrubs (Kalmia latifolia) are a close relative of rhododendrons and azaleas,all three shrubs belonging to the heath family. They are not related to their namesakes, though, the bay laurel trees. A broadleaf evergreen, mountain laurel bears glossy, deep green leaves that are attractive in all seasons.
But it is this shrub’s spring or summer flower display that makes it a special part of the woodlands it calls home in the eastern part of North America. The pictures of mountain laurel above were taken in New England, where the plant blooms in late June and early July.