As this first image shows, the formal beds gain all their structure from the foliage of the chipped box and lavender; in the Renaissance there was a balance in a garden between Art and Nature, the natural (always strictly under control) and the manmade often imitating nature to the extent that sometimes the viewer was unsure if something was Nature or Art. One of the ways that plants could be like art was by being tightly clipped so that the shadow thrown was as crisp and strong as that thrown by a wall. You can see the idea here with lower late afternoon light on the lavender and box.
I don’t usually like shrubs chipped within an inch of their lives so that they lose their natural form but in the upper drive border I am enjoying just that, the mounds of Cistus, Phlomis and lavender give a rhythm broken in places where spikes of Iris push up or where grasses wave in the breeze to break the solid forms. Cistus and Phlomis always form humpy shapes so I’m not really changing their form much just emphasising it.
How do you prune your shrubs? What foliage is shining in your garden today? I’d love to see, why not write a post with a link back to me here and then leave a comment with the link to your post. Spring is on its way in many gardens so you might just want to share some beautiful new shoots.