Definition of topiary in English:


nounPlural topiaries

mass noun
  • 1The art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes.

    as modifier ‘a specialist in topiary art’
    • ‘The garden she made is so well known today and has been so influential, that it is difficult to remember how unfashionable formal gardens, knots and topiary once were.’
    • ‘Pollarding and topiary are extreme examples of pruning to create a desired, unnatural effect.’
    • ‘In fact, topiary pruning can create health hazards for the plant, lower it's value and waste time and money.’
    • ‘My topiary skills are not highly developed but at least it looks a little more under control, now.’
    • ‘The horticultural art of topiary dates back at least 2,000 years, to when the ancient Romans cut bushes and trees into ornamental shapes.’
    • ‘After you've gotten the knack of making a simply topiary shape, you can try more elaborate shapes, such as animals and giant birds.’
    • ‘You could always choose to retreat - give up bodybuilding and transfer your energy into Civil War re-enactments or topiary gardening - but you didn't turn to this page only to give up on your dream.’
    • ‘Along that stretch of two-lane, one encounters a remarkable range of topiary and ornamental eccentricity.’
    • ‘In 1625, Francis Bacon, whose famous essay opens ‘God first planted a garden: it is the greatest of human pleasures ’, dismissed popular knot gardens and topiary with a sneer.’
    • ‘Small-leafed, slow-growing types of geraniums lend themselves to the painstaking art of topiary.’
    • ‘Some 200 plants have been sculpted by topiary experts into different designs and there are at least 800 hanging baskets.’
    • ‘Lemon verbena is also useful for topiary work, making nice large standards.’
    • ‘Some varieties lend themselves to topiary sculpture, espalier, or bonsai training.’
    • ‘A topiary features plants trimmed into the shapes of animals and birds.’
    • ‘But in Young's opinion bonsai is no worse than cutting grass, pruning roses or keeping topiary.’
    • ‘A secondary aim of topiary pruning is to determine the root.’
    • ‘More experienced gardeners may care to have a go at cloud topiary, a Buddhist idea that transforms a bushy shrub into a miniature tree using the inner framework of branches to support a floating ‘cloud’ of foliage.’
    • ‘Outdoors, I put a lot of time into gardening; propagating slow growing trees and succulents and practising topiary.’
    • ‘An outstanding example of violently abusing plants for our entertainment is topiary art.’
    1. 1.1 Shrubs or trees clipped into ornamental shapes.
      ‘a cottage surrounded by topiary and flowers’
      • ‘An intricately designed knot garden is the centrepiece, with box hedging and topiary cones forming an outer frame.’
      • ‘The south terrace was pushed out to form a larger lawn which was decorated with topiary evergreens, as well as urns and a tazza purchased from the Horticultural Society.’
      • ‘Using both live and dried plants, you'll learn how to select materials, frames, and containers, then plant, train, prune, and clip your topiary.’
      • ‘You can make and maintain 25 stunning topiaries to add elegance and beauty to your home.’
      • ‘The magnolias are clipped into pyramids and underplanted with topiary balls that will eventually meld into each other to create a cloud hedge.’
      • ‘The stolen goods, four of 15 topiary shrubs snatched from Whitehall garden centre, Corsham Road, disappeared in the early hours of Saturday morning.’
      • ‘She says: ‘The form of the sculpture comes from the fantastic topiary trees they have there.’’
      • ‘There were two expensive holly topiaries planted on either side of the tall elegant columns at the front door.’
      • ‘Container and garden grown rosemary takes well to training into topiaries.’
      • ‘All that remains of the eighteenth-century Italian garden are three terraces with geometric topiary shrubs.’
      • ‘This year's he'll be showing a striking mix of traditional and modern topiary shapes in box, yew and bay, with a ground cover of sedum.’
      • ‘Rowe's yard in Vinings, Georgia, has indisputable African antecedents, as manifested in its topiary, fruit trees, swept-dirt grounds, and highly varied adornments.’
      • ‘The 16.5 acre site boasts natural woodland, a Japanese garden, sunken lawns, topiary and an orangery.’
      • ‘Solid, structural plants, particularly clipped topiary shapes, have been used to mark the entrances to homes for centuries.’
      • ‘We dug up the misplaced topiary and turned it around.’
      • ‘He values all of his customers whether they are shopping for an elaborate piece of box topiary priced in the thousands, or a couple of pot plants.’
      • ‘She continued: ‘You can also combine traditional ideas with new ones, to create a sensational seasonal topiary tree.’’
      • ‘The outside of the mansion of which the party was being held is a gigantic garden filled with topiary animals of all kinds, elegant fountains, and colorful paper lanterns and twinkling lights.’
      • ‘The middle of the lawn was exceptionally spacious, and topiary trees had been strategically placed in a row.’
      • ‘It includes a contemporary parterre planted with 16 abstract topiary shapes.’


Late 16th century: from French topiaire, from Latin topiarius ‘ornamental gardener’, from topia opera ‘fancy gardening’, from a diminutive of Greek topos ‘place’.