I subscribe to Digger magazine, the industry publication from Oregon Association of Nurserymen. I am always curious about trends in the nursery industry and this magazine is a good way to find out what home gardeners are buying.
The cover feature of the May 2010 issue is on topiary. While I can appreciate topiaries in formal gardens – with dozens of gardeners to keep them shaped up – I think they are poor choices for most home landscapes. Shearing plants to maintain a particular size or shape is a never-ending activity that most homeowners will tire of quickly. Nevertheless, the magazine reports that topiaries are becoming more popular for home landscapes, especially along the East Coast. The article showcases the newer topiary shapes – stars, crosses, angels, even cacti – in addition to the traditional spirals and poms.
The article warns growers that skilled employees are needed to prune topiaries properly, and that the time commitment to create and maintain topiaries is significant. One grower states “it’ll take a fair amount of time to shape it, and then you’ll be trimming it lightly a couple of times a year until you sell it.”
Curiously, the article says nothing about either the time commitment or pruning skills needed for homeowners who purchase topiaries.
Even more curious…the subsequent issue of Digger is devoted to sustainability. Seems a bit of a disconnect there.