These include shears (electric and manual), clippers, secateurs, knives, rakes, ladders, frames and other specialised types of equipment which the real enthusiast just ‘must have’ and which can even become collectors’ items.
A wide variety of suppliers are in this market, names that are both well known and more recent newcomers.
These include: Bosch, Burgon & Ball, CK Legend, Darlac, Gardena, Henchman, Niwaki, Spear & Jackson, Wilkinson, and Wolf to name just a few.
Most books on topiary normally contain a section, or sometimes a complete chapter, on tools and equipment.
The following books make interesting reading on this topic:
Pruning and Training Plants by David Joyce – first published in 1992 and reprinted later- ISBN 1 85732 435 8. A section on Tools and Equipment with simple illustrations is included.
The Traditional Garden Book by Graham Rose in association with the National Trust – first published in paperback form in 1993—ISBN 0-7513-0093-4 including a chapter on Topiary with a description of tools used.
More recently Chris Crowder’s book entitled The Garden at Levens, published in 2005, ISBN 0711224 34X describes how topiary is managed in the garden and the tools that are used at perhaps the most famous Topiary garden in the UK, if not the world, Levens Hall in Cumbria.
Another of his books, entitled Topiary Design and Technique, was published in 2006– ISBN 1 86126 8165. This well illustrated book describes in great detail how topiary can be shaped and clipped and the methods used for achieving this.
‘Niwaki, Pruning and Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way’, a stunning book written by Jake Hobson and published in 2007, brings a new dimension to the way things are done in Japan and the equipment used to such good effect. (ISBN 978-0-88192-835-8). His unique aluminium ‘telescopic third leg’ ladder for pruning trees is a must for any serious topiary specialist.
With this plethora of tools and equipment available to the enthusiast, EBTS undertook a trial to discover which shears were best for topiary clipping– battery powered, one-handed or two-handed. 12 different tools were tested over a period of a day at a well known nursery in Berkshire, by six ‘EBTS experts’, with regard to price, weight, blade length, balance and performance. A full report was issued, with ratings given, in our magazine Topiarius, Volume 10 Summer 2006, it makes very interesting reading.