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The Art of Creative Pruning: Inventive Ideas for Training and Shaping Trees and Shrubs

By Jake Hobson

A wonderful new book that takes a fun, creative, and interesting look at the world of pruning.

American Gardener

A well-pruned plant can conjure up far-off places, elicit surprise or shock, and even make you laugh. This is no ordinary book about pruning but one that explores its creative side, unveiling sculptural landscapes that feature boxwoods trimmed into whimsical Russian nesting dolls, hedges inscribed with words, and a tree snipped to resemble the toppling tiers of a wedding cake.

Wielding the pruners is fun. While clipping may not come naturally to all, Jake Hobson's unique blend of east-meets-west topiary is compelling, his enthusiasm infectious, and his instructions clear as he exhorts us to "Clip hard, be brave and learn from your mistakes." His encouraging advice is supported by a wealth of information about which plants to use, how to achieve the desired shape, and when to prune.

A far cry from classic topiary, the artfully clipped plants showcased here are lively and fresh. With a strong emphasis on free-form, naturalistic pruning they blend seamlessly into their surroundings: trees are pruned to reflect the wider landscape; a boxwood ball is used as a repeating motif that adds to the overall coherence of a garden; and a billowing cloud-pruned hedge defines the character of an outdoor space.

Illustrated with spectacular photographs taken in some of the world's most inventive gardens, these powerful sculptural landscapes will have everyone reaching for the pruning shears.

Media reviews

"This coffee-table book exceeds expectations with how-to diagrams, tips on maintenance and tools, and list of references accompanying genuinely breath-taking full-color photos."


"A wonderful new book that takes a fun, creative, and interesting look at the world of pruning."

American Gardener

"For fabulous ideas and late-winter inspiration, especially as we venture into our gardens wielding shears and pole pruners, Hobson's book is just the ticket."

—Karla Dalley, Connecticut Horticultural Society Newsletter

About the author

Jake Hobson

Jake Hobson draws upon experience with Japanese gardens and landscaping having spent two years working at a traditional nursery in the countryside outside of Osaka, Japan. He delivers lectures on Japanese pruning techniques throughout the U.K.

Read more about Jake Hobson

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