Articles

Topiarius contains a variety of articles of academic, botanical and scientific interest, as well as articles on garden design, some of which are now available to read by clicking on the links below…

Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum page 2066 Vol IV-HL

Taxus for Topiary

Architectural & Landscape Historian Dr John Glenn, takes a scholarly look at references in English literature through the centuries, to the use of Taxus for topiary.

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Flora de la República de Cuba: Buxaceae by Egon Köhler

The newly revised Flora of Cuba contains an important and long-awaited section on Buxus. This section, written by the distinguished German expert Egon Köhler, has now been published as an elegant and impressive separate volume

Levens Hall - Kendal - Cumbria - 1

Five methods of Defence – An EBTS Round Up

The following comments are from scientists, nurserymen and private growers. There are many differences in opinion even amongst the leading experts. Everyone has a story to tell, perhaps a treatment to recommend…

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The Drama of Vaux-le-Vicomte by Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs

Vaux-le-Vicomte, the scene and the cause of the downfall of Nicolas Fouquet, the colourful and immeasurably rich finance minister to Louis XIV. “At six in the evening, Fouquet was the king of France; at two in the morning he was nobody.” Well, not quite, let’s explore further

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Gardens in the Dordogne – Words & Pictures by Roger Last

The Dordogne has long been a favourite destination for the English – hardly surprising given the beauty of the countryside. It is a land of winding rivers, of castles precipitously perched on outcrops of rock with villages huddled below, woods of oak and chestnut on the hills and, in the valleys, rich planting of walnuts. Add to this a sequence of outstanding gardens and the experience achieves a new dimension.

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Boxwood Engraving Blocks by Mark Braimbridge

Today wood engraving is flourishing again after a dismal patch in the 1960s and 70s when its simple black and white lines were thought to be dull and outdated. Like their predecessors, the new generation of engravers continue to work on boxwood whenever they could get it but it is in increasingly short supply. Lemonwood is the best substitute and is used by beginners to practise but it is inconsistent.

Thomas Bewick by Burnet-HL

Thomas Bewick by Mark Braimbridge

In the 1700’s there was a flowering of ‘naturalism’, the close following of nature in art and literature – Carl Linnaeus in Sweden, Gilbert White in Hampshire among many others. Duchesses were interested in botany, merchants and aristocrats founded zoos, clergymen recorded natural details of their environments.

Box Tree Moth - Photo copyright Royal Horticultural Society

Another year with Box Blight & Box Tree Moth

Report by Dr Béatrice Henicot, Principal Plant Pathologist at the Royal Horticultural Society
In the mid-1990s, the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola was introduced into the UK.

Reconstructed Roman garden at the J Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California, based on the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum

Boxwood in Roman times by Mark V Braimbridge

Boxwood has been known since Classical times and frequently appears in Roman literature. Loudon (1783 – 1843) was a landscape artist and encyclopaedist, writing an ‘Encyclopaedia of Gardening‘ and starting a vogue for ‘Gardenesque’, a style of garden design that had been out of fashion for a century.

Fig 1 - The Isaiah Scroll, Qumran, 1st century BCE - 1st century CE, The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Boxwood in Biblical times by Mark V Braimbridge

For many boxwood authors and enthusiasts it is pleasing that their favourite wood had a role as precious timber in biblical times. The four references to boxwood usually quoted are Isaiah chapters 30, 41 and 60 and Ezekiel 27.

Fig.3: Scene from the Passion - Scourging of Christ

The Waddesdon Bequest at the British Museum Part 2 by Mark V Braimbridge

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild had an ambition to possess, at Waddesdon Manor, his Buckinghamshire estate, a cabinet of works of art of the highest quality and gradually to eliminate all that was in any respect of the second class. The meticulously carved miniature boxwood artefacts in the Waddesdon Bequest, bequeathed to the British Museum on his death in 1898, are one result of that ambition.

Kenilworth

The edge before box By David Jacques

The restoration of the Earl of Leicester’s garden at Kenilworth Castle gave the team assembled by English Heritage an opportunity to examine our knowledge of what an Elizabethan garden consisted of, and how it actually looked. There have been several Tudor re-creations, perhaps the best being that at Shakespeare’s house in Stratford-on-Avon, masterminded by Ernest […]

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Bibliography of Boxwood & Topiary

Originally compiled by Mark Braimbridge (last addition made February 2014) Please note that the following list is of possible reading material.  This does not imply endorsement by the EBTS.  International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) and International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSN) are given where known. Adams, Katharina (2004) Buchs  Kosmos Garten: Stuttgart  ISBN 3440097978 Baker, Margaret […]