Do you have some scraggly, overgrown trees or looming bushes you’ve been meaning to trim back? Niwaki, the Japanese equivalent of topiary, is a fun alternative to the simple (often ruthless) trimming most Americans give their bushes. Cloud pruning, the simplest form, follows the contours of a bush’s branches, allowing you to trim the it into a bank of rounded mounds. Don’t have a mountain to grow gnarled, wind-buffeted and stunted trees? With a few years of patience, plus ropes and bamboo poles, you can great your own artist masterpiece. Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way is packed with information and tips on pruning, plus dozens of great examples from all over Japan.
Below: My first attempt on a neighbor’s bushes.