The history of topiary is not as definite as most arts that are present today, though it is widely believed to be society’s oldest gardening form. Although it is known that topiaries date as far as 4000BC when the Egyptians clipped their hedged into boxes in their gardens, there is also evidence of elaborate figure animals in shaped greens during the Roman times. This beautiful art of shaping trees and shrubs into leafy structures is also called different names in the far east. For instance, in China it is called ‘penjing’, and ‘bonsai’ in Japan (often found in Japanese zen gardens).
During the 18th century, there was a decline in topiaries in the English gardens of the elite. Luckily, they survived in the homes and cottages of regular folk, in simpler or more traditional forms like a ball or a perfectly trimmed tree shaped into a cone (which might have even been considered an heirloom, since it takes an average of 13 years for the plant to mature before it could start to be shaped).
Today, this practice has grown into an intricate art and gone are the days of being limited to just the basic shapes. Topiaries nowadays comes in animal shapes, cartoon characters and even in the images of people’s faces. Truly, gardening has come a long way, but it most certainly still brings beauty to our environment, for us and the future generations to enjoy.
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