13 August 2012
If it clips, clip it.
A common question I get asked is ‘what plants can I use for cloud pruning’ or something along those lines. Once we’ve got over the semantics of cloud pruning I then emphasise that, if we’re looking for a Japanese style of pruning the plant does absolutely NOT have to be Japanese - it’s what you do to it that makes it look Japnese.
My basic answer is, if you can prune it, it will work, as long as you respect the plant itself - there are things you can get away with on a yew that will probably (hopefully?) kill a leylandii. Another answer is, if you’ve seen it pruned in a different style, you can probably cloud prune it. Anything that makes formal topiary will work, and most things that make a hedge will work.
So, here’s a picture of a bay tree. We all know you can shape these into lollipop standards, so why not Japanese shapes too. Just because it’s a mediterranean plant doesn’t mean it has to stay classical.