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Topiary Takeover

Perfectly pruned greenery is the newest way to bring elegance and sophistication to your landscaping or home decor.

In our November issue we featured tall topiaries, which are about to be the new, trendy plant in landscaping and home decor. Whether you prefer sculpted spheres or organic groupings, such as bushy rosemary and lavender plants, topiaries provide a stately presence to their surroundings. Graciously framing entries and flanking front doors and driveways, spiral-shape topiaries add a formal flair. These pruned plants don't take up much space, either, and look perfect perched on a windowsill.

There are many plant species that can be trained into topiaries, most popularly boxwoods, conifers, junipers, and cypress. They flourish well into fall and through winter with minimal maintenance, requiring less water and occasional trimming to keep up appearances, according to Sandra Gerdes, manager of the Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden. Not only do these suspended plants bring a bit of nature indoors, but they also improve oxygen levels, literally giving you a breath of fresh air.

Fragrant herbs like rosemary, lemon verbena, and fringed lavender, along with colorful geraniums, also fill your home with sweet scents while adding artful charm and beauty to any room. However, this trend may not be for everyone. "Those who are drawn to topiaries want to experiment, try something different for herbs or gift plants, or are homeowners who have a formal style," said Gerdes. If you have a more relaxed style and want in on the topiary trend, you can opt for a more organic look, which is still pruned but less structured.

Topiaries aren't just a home decor trend. They're being used at weddings, holiday gatherings, and more formal get-togethers. To try this trend, swap traditional floral arrangements, Christmas trees, or centerpieces for manicured miniature trees.

Elevated foliage, such as luscious lemon leaf topiaries and winter jasmine bushes, can replace expensive floral arrangements and crystal vases typical at wedding receptions and dinner parties. Angled evergreen topiaries sprinkled with mini ornaments are a stylish substitute for holiday decorating if you don't have space for a full-size Christmas tree. Whatever the occasion, trimmed topiaries leave a polished impression.