The Topiary Lawn Great Dixter’s garden in Christopher Lloyd’s words. A closely planted strip of ash trees on the garden’s west boundary, provide wonderful silhouettes of airy foliage against the sunset sky, in summer, but they do shed much seed into the garden, borne on the prevailing south-west winds. The yew topiary lends a particular atmosphere to several parts of the garden. There was more of it in my father’s time. It has a presence, especially when shadows are long and it appears to inhabit, rather than grow. It needs clipping only once a year. If done in August, it will retain its sharp outlines right through to the end of the following May. However, although we mechanised the operation soon after the last war, we seldom achieve this objective and are pleased if this prolonged task is completed by November. Yew grows much faster than people imagine, if the ground is well prepared and the plants are fed.