Espalier Apple Tree
A number of years ago I had the opportunity to travel to France with my daughter. One of the things that struck me about gardening in France (besides the huge number of window flower boxes) were the many espalier (is-‘pal-yər) pear and apple trees we saw, both at private residences and in public parks. Some of them appeared to be very old. The branches of these trees are directed in specific patterns to create designs such as a diamond or candelabra. You can create your own espalier trees by training them while they are young, or they are now available ‘pre-trained’ at Town & Country Gardens.
If you have been to Disneyland or Disney World you have probably seen plants that have been sculpted to look like various animals and characters such as Mickey Mouse or Goofy. The art of topiary is the “sculpting” of plants into unique shapes. It is amazing what can be done to train and prune plants into living sculptures.
This year at Town & Country Gardens we are offering our own collection of beautiful topiaries. These plants have been painstakingly and artistically sculpted into a variety of shapes that will add distinction and interest to your landscape. Choose from a wide selection of shapes including stars, palm trees, eagles, horses, and more. Other shapes may be available on special order from our grower. Just ask us.
Caring for your sculpted plants is really pretty easy. The important thing to remember is that they must be pruned two or three times a year to maintain their shape.
- Dig hole large enough to allow 6-12” of fill soil between the root ball and the sides of the hole.
- Remove the box from the root ball. If roots are tightly bound, carefully loosen the roots at the edges of the ball to promote growth.
- Install the plant so that the top of the root ball is slightly higher than the existing soil grade. Backfill with a mixture of soil and compost such as T&C Soil Enhancer.
- Build a basin around the plant and top-dress with suitable mulch material. Water well with Fertilome Root Stimulator according to directions.
Note: We do not recommend leaving the plants in their boxes or container. They will tolerate our winter cold and winds much better if planted in the ground.
To maintain its distinct form, this sculptured plant should be trimmed two to three times a year. It is best to prune during cooler days and when the weather will be overcast for a few days after pruning. This helps prevent scorching of the foliage. A key indicator that it is time to prune is when the plant begins to look like it needs a haircut. As you prune be sure to follow the original contours of the sculptured art form, but stay 1-2 inches above the netting which is designed to hold the shape. Do not remove the netting.
Sculpted topiary plants can add a beautiful and unique focal point to the landscape of homes and businesses. Let your imagination run wild.