Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Cloud clipped yews

click photo to enlarge
I've posted photographs in the past showing yew trees, often grown as hedges, that are clipped into massive, irregular mounds. It is a style popular in the gardens of English country houses. Audley End has a remarkable example, and I've photographed a fine one at Melbourne, Derbyshire. I've also posted an earlier photograph of those at Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding, that are shown above, though it wasn't as well lit as when I took this shot. What I didn't have when I took those photographs was a name to attach to this particular type of topiary. But now I do.

Looking up some details about what is surely the biggest such hedge in Britain, the example at Montacute House, Somerset, I found a few references describing it as "cloud clipped" and some others that said it was an example of "cloud pruning". Those are both terms with which I am familiar. However, I assumed they applied to yews (and other conifers) where the branches were clipped so that each had a ball or disc of foliage and the whole tree had several irregular balls - like this or this. But apparently it has a wider application. However, I'm not sure it is the best term to describe this "lumpy" kind of topiary. Though many such hedges could be said to resemble banks of cumulonimbus, they don't resemble clouds as well as the cumulus-like examples that I used to think of as cloud-clipped. But, you live and learn!

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 16mm (43mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On