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illustration Topiary



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, 16th century


The art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes.


Shrubs or trees clipped into ornamental shapes.

Examples of Topiary in a sentence

"The botanical gardens boasted an expert in topiary who clipped the bushes into animal shapes."

"Topiaries are a fun way to interest young children in plants and gardening."

About Topiary

“Topiary” is based on the Latin “topiarius,” meaning “related to ornamental gardening.”

Did you Know?

Topiary is the practice of turning trees and bushes into shapes both by careful trimming and by slowly training the trunks and branches to grow in different patterns over time. The products of the topiary process are also called topiaries. Topiaries emerged as early as ancient Rome, when an associate of Julius Caesar pioneered shaped gardens. In early forms, topiaries were plants and bushes shaped like animals, but also symbols such as obelisks and puzzles. However, topiary gardening developed more quickly in regions that didn’t have stones appropriate for more traditional forms of sculpture. There were more topiaries in England in the 18th century than there were in Italy, owing to England’s abundance of trees and shrubs in place of stone suitable for carving.

illustration Topiary

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