After a brief survey of Roman topiary, this book moves on through the formal parterres of Renaissance Italy and the more elaborate broderies of the royal French gardens (copied in palace gardens throughout Europe), the complicated conceits of the Tudors and the geometry of the Dutch school. It takes a wry look at the 18th century, when many fine formal gardens were scrapped in favor of the English landscape school, which, in fact, was no less artificial. In the 19th century there was a revival of parterres filled with tender bedding plants. Green architecture returned with the Arts and Crafts movement, became unfashionable in the mid-20th century and has had a revival in the last decade or so in a more abstract and sculptural form, inspired somewhat by Japanese "cloud" topiary. Widening the story beyond the topiary of Europe and the west, there are chapters on the ancient art of Japanese topiary and on labyrinths and mazes from Minoa. The second half of the book brings us up to date, taking a look at topiary as used by designers such as Jacques Wirtz, Piet Oudolf, Arne Maynard, Tom Stuart-Smith, Fernando Caruncho, as well as talented private garden owners. Finally there is a projection into the future, with the potential for topiary in industrial settings and amenity horticulture and its influence on land art.
About the Author
Caroline Foley is the author of 10 books, including Of Cabbages and Kings: The History of Allotments. She has been the editor of Topiarius, the pan-European journal of the European Boxwood and Topiary Society, for 10 years.
“Highly recommended for anyone interested in the fascinating history of topiary or gardening.” —Library Journal
“a wonderful resource and engaging work." —Plant Talk