Press Releases from Levens Hall
25 September 2023
World Record Gardens Ready to Attract the September ‘Clipping’ Crowd
Topiary clipping begins in the world's largest Topiary Garden

World Record Gardens Ready to Attract the September ‘Clipping’ Crowd

Cumbrian visitor attraction, Levens Hall and Gardens, is entering a month in which the appeal, especially for avid gardeners, takes on a whole new dimension, with many visiting largely to see the gardening team at work.

September is the month in which the team start to get to grips with the huge and somewhat daunting task of giving the world’s oldest topiary garden its annual trim.  As custodians of a world-record-holding garden, they recognise the huge responsibility they have, so take the duty extremely seriously, working to what is now a well-oiled and focused plan of action.

The requirement is to remove the fuzzy growth that has emerged around the topiary trees and get them back into shape, displaying pristine lines and fabulous silhouettes once more.  For those trees that are known for being a particular object or character this is hugely important, whether they are a peacock, top hat, Queen Elizabeth I or Homer Simpson!

The clipping and trimming requires true artistry. It starts in September but goes on for a full six months, finishing just before the season starts, in April each year.  September, and the first few days in October, present the only opportunity for visitors to see it in action, as Levens Hall and Gardens closes on October 6 and does not reopen until early April 2024.  For many, the fascination of watching how the challenge is tackled is too much of a temptation to resist.

Inquisitive gardeners just love to see the clipping in action.  These days, this is often done with mechanical tools such as electric hedge-trimmers but despite the mechanisation is still artistry in motion. 

The gardening team, led by Chris Crowder, have to ‘shave off’ a little growth at a time, continually looking at the lines and shapes that need to be followed and created.  The manual clippers will come out on occasions, as every line and shape is honed and perfected.

To achieve all of this means working from height much of the time, whether from wheeled scaffold towers or a cherry-picker.  The latter is essential when it comes to working on the oldest trees in the garden – the two Umbrella trees, which date back to pretty much the date of the foundation of the garden, in 1694.

The majestic beauties take pride of place in the world’s oldest topiary garden and need to be lovingly tended, ensuring that they continue to thrill and present the legacy of the garden’s 17th century founder, Monsieur Guillaume Beaumont.

The Levens Hall and Gardens gardening team work on one or maybe two topiary trees per day.  With over 100 pieces of topiary to tackle, this extends the task right through the winter, with much work out of the public gaze.  Seeing it get underway in September, therefore, is a real must for people, especially as it also often presents the opportunity for visitors and keen gardeners to ask questions and quiz the gardening team about their approach.

Levens Hall and Gardens owner, Richard Bagot, says: “Our visitor profile changes quite notably during September, especially from the mid to end of the month.  We definitely see more avid gardeners here, all keen to understand more about the work that goes into our topiary.  We also sometimes have volunteers who come from as far afield as Sweden, just to get involved. 

“The work that goes into our fabulous topiary garden can often go unappreciated but not in September and early October.  That’s when the public really do see how much it takes to keep our garden looking so sharp.”






With the topiary garden being just one of the ‘rooms’ created by a hedge system dividing the Levens Hall grounds, there is much more than just the topiary to tackle during the winter months.  To hear about all of the work involved, head to this podcast -


Visit Levens Hall and Gardens before it closes on October 6 and you may well see the clipping in action.  Gardens only admission costs £10.50 for an adult, £4 for a child and £26 for a family.  House and Gardens admission costs £14.50, £5 for £36, respectively.  Levens Hall and Gardens is open Sunday to Friday (closed Saturdays).

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