A Standard is defined as: a tree or shrub that is trained to have one central leader or stem and a rounded head of branches. Standards are trained as young plants; the central stem is braced against a stake, forcing it to grow straight and tall. Lower branches and shoots are removed and the remaining upper branches are sheared frequently, to shape and to encourage fullness.
There are many plants that lend themselves to being Topiary specimens. Essentially, it is more desirable that the plant is evergreen, that the leaves are fairly small and interesting, that it produces a seasonal flower and, most important, that it responds well to constant pruning.
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People imagine that the Art of Topiary is time-consuming and only for those who have that special artistic flair - but that is a myth! Once the shape has been formed initially, it is merely a question of giving it the odd haircut. It is a garden task that can be done with secateurs in one hand - whilst the other hand can hold a glass of chilled Chardonnay!
And as for that artistic flair, you never know until you try. Unleash that inner creativity and give it a go! You may be pleasantly surprised. And at the very worst, you can always let the plant re-grow, like a bad haircut!
A compact shrub with quite coarse green foliage, carmine red buds appear in late winter and open to white blooms tinged pink. Flowers are lightly perfumed and followed by dark blue berries. Easy to grow in sun or light shade. Responds well to pruning. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: Std