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Our Exhibit & The New Forest

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021
A topiary Hind Deer on Agrumi's RHS Chelsea exhibit

Bespoke Topiary Specialists

Agrumi are the UK’s leading bespoke topiary specialists and are delighted to present to you, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, their interpretation of The New Forest.
The plant used for all the living sculptures on display is Ligustrum delavayanum, which is commonly named box-leaved privet.
All but the red deer stag were freshly made this year and ready to plant.
Agrumi’s bespoke sculptures are designed and handmade by the team at their custom-designed workshop in the New Forest.
The team painstakingly weave UK grown plants around bent and welded steel armatures to create the finished green and living product.
Agrumi are proud of every one of their creations, both small and large, that grace the gardens and courtyards of private clients and businesses, adding theatre and the wow factor to visitor attractions, garden centres, members clubs, restaurants, special events and exhibitions. Some of their previous customers include Disney, the BBC, ITV, Lords MCC, Daylesford, Hyundai, EE, M&C Saatchi and the RHS.

Topiary - What does it mean?

The word ‘topiary’ comes from the Latin word topiarius; meaning ‘landscape gardener’.

Topiary is the horticultural art of clipping and training shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes
and sculptures.

The resulting topiary shape can be as exotic and elaborate as desired; ranging from animal shapes and figures to a well-trimmed hedge.

Agrumi are specialists in creating bespoke topiary sculptures.

Agrumi can create pieces based on almost any design, which allows for plenty of creativity.

Red Deer (Stag)

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in May 2020
Using Ligustrum delavayanum: four 8 year old bushes and four 18-21 year old trees
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An outline of a stag

Did you know?

There are five main types of deer to be found in The New Forest:
• Fallow
• Roe
• Red
• Sika
• Muntjac
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Red Deer (Hinds)

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in September 2021
Using Ligustrum delavayanum: four 8 year old bushes and four 12 year old trees each
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An outline of a deerAn outline of a deer
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Topiary - The Agrumi Process

Our topiary artists create the sculptures and frames by hand, in this custom-designed topiary workshop.

Luigi - Having worked closely with nature, Luigi can recreate realistic 3D forms, capturing the personality of each animal perfectly.

Rachel - Working as Luigi’s understudy, Rachel makes smaller topiary and also helps to design and coordinate bespoke larger sculptures.

Rachel and Luigi stood outside te topiary workshop

Metal Sheep, Ram and Lamb

When Agrumi are not busy making Ligustrum sculptures they make these metal garden sculptures.

These are intricate armature representations of Agrumi’s living plant topiary.
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Did you know?

One of the rights of the New Forest Commoners is that they are allowed to graze sheep
Luigi Frosini metal sheep sculptures
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Topiary - The Agrumi Process

The rootstocks of the plants are secured into place at the base of the sculpture.

Each branch is then carefully woven around the armature and secured in place with paper covered wire, to reduce the use of plastic.

The planter is then filled in with peat-free compost, pumice stones and mycorrhizal fungi.

Agrumi topiarist planting up a deer
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Metal Boxing Hares

When Agrumi are not busy making Ligustrum sculptures they make these metal garden sculptures.

These are intricate armature representations of Agrumi’s living plant topiary.
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Luigi Frosini Boxing Hares Metal Sculpture

Topiary - The Agrumi Process

Every sculpture starts off as a hand-welded steel armature.
Luigi welding a topiary armature
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

White-tailed Sea Eagle

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in September 2021
Using an 18 year old Ligustrum delavayanum tree
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An outline of a Sea Eagle

Did you know?

White-tailed eagles are the UK’s largest bird of prey. They had been absent from England for 240 years. In August 2019 six eagles were released on the Isle of Wight as part of a five-year introduction programme.

This year one of them returned to the Isle of Wight after a 17 month journey across England. The male eagle, known as G393, flew almost 3,000 miles to Yorkshire, Norfolk and Oxfordshire and was spotted along the 40 miles of New Forest coastline
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Topiary - The Agrumi Process

Underneath the foliage of all of Agrumi’s Ligustrum delavayanum plant sculptures, there is an armature frame.

This is hand-manipulated into shape and welded to form Agrumi’s designs.

The rootstocks of the plants are secured into place at the base of the sculpture and the main stems start off loosely wound around the framework.

Each branch is then carefully woven around the armature and the foliage grows to cover the entire design.

Geese

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in May 2021
Using an 8 year old Ligustrum delavayanum bush each
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An outline of some geese
Topiary geese on Agrumi's New Forest themed exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower SHow

Fox

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in August 2021
Using four 8 year old Ligustrum delavayanum bushes
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An outline of a fox

Toadstools

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in August 2021
Using 3 Ligustrum delavayanum bushes: 5-8 years old
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An outline of some toadstools

Did you know?

Of the 12,000 species found in Britain, around 2,700 are present in the New Forest, making this one of the most productive fungus habitats in Western Europe.

Mushroom

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in May 2021
Using a 5 year old Ligustrum delavayanum bush
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Mushroom Outline

Did you know?

The plants on the sculptures don’t always green up at the same rate. The really young shoots have leaves at closer internodal lengths, which means that they grow at a faster rate. The older woody stems are sometimes used structurally in the designs (like on the stag’s leg) and these take the longest time to green up.
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Topiary - Greening Up

Once Agrumi has made the sculpture, the Ligustrum delavayanum plants require a growing season or two to ‘green up’. This is when the leaves have filled out and the surface appears fluffy with foliage.  

The plants don’t always green up at the same rate. The last bit to green up is on the woody parts (like on the stag’s legs).

The really young shoots have leaves at closer internodal lengths, which mean that they grow at a faster rate. The older stems (sometimes used structurally in the designs) take longer to green up.

A photo of a silver birch tree, taken by Paul Close

Metal Labrador

When Agrumi are not busy making Ligustrum sculptures they make these metal garden sculptures.

These are intricate armature representations of Agrumi’s living plant topiary.
Buy from Top Topiary
Metal Labrador Sculpture by Luigi Frosini

Metal Pig

Did you know?

Every Autumn, in The New Forest, pigs are released into the forest to eat fallen acorns and nuts. This practice is called ‘pannage’.
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Metal Pig Sculpture by Luigi Frosini
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

New Forest Ponies

Ligustrum delavayanum
Made in August 2021
Using Ligustrum delavayanum: four 8 year old bushes and four mature trees each
Buy from Top Topiary

Did you know?

There are about 5,000 ponies that roam freely over The New Forest. They are all owned by New Forest Commoners.
An outline of a New Forest ponyAn outline of a New Forest ponyAn outline of a foal
New Forest Ponies in topiary at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Topiary - 'Thinking Outside the Box'

Problems with Box Plants

RHS Wisley is currently trialling a range of alternatives to traditional box plant (Buxus sempervirens) hedges in their Walled Gardens.

Unlike Ligustrum and other alternatives, Box plants are susceptible to box blight (a fungal disease) and box tree moth caterpillars.

Box is also slow growing and less useful for Agrumi’s larger sculptures, which need to ‘green up’ quickly at the top.

Topiary - 'Thinking Outside the Box'

Buxus sempervirens, Box-leaved Privet and Box-leaved Ilex

Can you work out which leaf is from which plant?

Leaves pictured are from: Buxus sempervirens, Ligustrum delavayanum and Ilex crenata ‘Kinme’ plants in no particular order
Leaves pictured are from: Buxus sempervirens, Ligustrum delavayanum and Ilex crenata ‘Kinme’ plants in no particular order

Topiary - Ligustrum delavayanum

Box-leaved Privet (Ligustrum delavayanum) is a great alternative to box (Buxus sempervirens). It is not subject to box blight or box tree moth caterpillars.  It also requires minimal care in comparison.

Agrumi use grafted Ligustrum delavayanum plants for their topiary work. The branches are malleable and great for weaving onto steel armature topiary frames.

Aged plants, grown especially for years in preparation for topiary use, allow for a speedy sculpture building process.

Topiary - The Grafting Process

Grafting is the act of joining two plants together

Agrumi combines the small-leaved plant of one Ligustrum and the strong root system of another Ligustrum plant to create their living plant

topiary sculptures.

The Scion (the part with leaves) they use is a small-leaved variety of Ligustrum (Ligustrum delavayanum).

The leaves are very similar in appearance to box (Buxus sempervirens).

The Rootstock is a variety of Ligustrum with a strong root system (Ligustrum japonicum), which supports the health of the entire plant.

Topiary - The Grafting Process

Grafting plant lengths for weaving topiary

1

An example of the grafting technique
Cuts in stock must be smooth and straight. Another cut is made to form a 'tongue'.

2

An example of the grafting technique
Two stock grafts are pushed together with the tongues overlapping.

3

An example of the grafting technique
The two combined stock grafts are tightly wrapped with tape to prevent drying.
A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Welcome to the New Forest

When William the Conqueror saw the New Forest’s enchanted acres of deer filled heath, pretty glades and wildwood more than 900 years ago, he must have been astounded by its beauty. Today, little has changed and the National Park gives visitors a magical glimpse of an ancient England, a very unique place where wandering animals still have the right of way. The New Forest itself is a labyrinth of woodland, open heath, peaceful walks and picturesque towns and villages, it even has 43 miles of refreshing coast.

A photo of the New Forest by Paul Close

Situated just 90 miles south west of London, it is the perfect romantic break or activity filled family holiday destination. The colours of Autumn are particularly spectacular, as are crisp Winter days or the awakening chorus of nature which is the New Forest Spring. Stay
in stunning holiday parks, top of the range hotels and other high-quality accommodation, visit world class family attractions, enjoy local activities, unusual festivals and quirky cultural events.

For everything you need to plan ahead and book your stay direct, please visit:
www.thenewforest.co.uk

We would be delighted to discuss your own bespoke topiary sculpture ideas

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