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I am planning to start a topiary parterre using taxus baccata. Does anyone have any tips?

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I am planning to plant five 80cm taxus baccata in an enclosed parterre. I want to form different shapes from them in time. Does anyone have and tips on how to start eg. is this the right size of plant to start with, when to start trimming, feeding for good roots and growth etc? All advice welcome.

On plant Taxus baccata



I think that Grenville might be able to help here - type his name into the search box (top right) and send him a private message in case he doesn't see your question.

14 Jan, 2009


Great thank you

14 Jan, 2009


If you are wanting to form a Parterre you will probably get better and more instant results by using Box (Buxus sempervirens). They will tend to grow more rapidly, and you can clip them when they have grown after about two years. I prefer them as they have a tighter and denser structure than Yew, but is a matter of personal preference.
If you buy baby box -
(we bought ours from B & Q) you can plant them closely together to form continuous lines or shapes.Use long lengths of wood laid as a straight edge and plant up to the wood as a temporary guide to keep your lines straight. Ropes can be laid out on the surface of the ground if you want to create more intricate shapes with curves...... Yews are also fine, and the larger versions can be used as central features to the parterre and you can also clip them into interesting shapes. The best time to clip yews and box is during the summer -mid June. This ensures that the new growth has set and hardened. They can be clipped again in September to tidy them up before winter.Do not be tempted to clip them during the winter or spring.It depends on the height of the Parterre that you want to create, but usually the sides of the outer structures are about 30 cms high.Bigger plants in spirals or other eccentric shapes can be planted as sculptural shapes in each central section.

The overall design needs to be symmetrical. Before you commence planting I advise that you use squared paper (with large grids) to make a scale drawing of your design before you start, and then mark it out in your garden using the wood and ropes.

If you need any more help please get back to me.

We have created small Parterres in large pots several years ago, and they are doing well. You might wish to take a look at our topiaries in our photos section. Give them some fish blood and bone early spring, and then slow release granules (don't overdo it) to keep them green during the growing season.An orange or brown colour usually indicates a lack of food.
Good luck with your project, and I hope this helps.
Best wishes,

15 Jan, 2009


Thanks so much for this advice. Have actually used lavender and Buxus saraccoca for a different look for the surrounds. Thanks for the note on feeding the box. My box in pots definitely need a feed.

16 Jan, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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