topiary work (tōˈpēĕrˌē) [key], pruning and training of shrubs and trees into ornamental shapes, used in landscape gardening. Elaborate topiary work in which trees and shrubs are clipped to resemble statuary (e.g., birds, nymphs, urns) or are planted to form mazes or intricate geometrical patterns was once popular but now can be seen only in old-fashioned or specialized private gardens or in formal parks and botanical displays. Arborvitae, box, privet, and yew are among the plants most used for topiary gardening. See espalier.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on topiary work from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Horticulture