One of my clients has an accidentally cloud-pruned hedge. This arcane art from Japan is all the rage at the moment, but when I informed her she was cutting edge (literally and metaphorically), she’d never heard of it. The hedge, she told me, had just grown like that: she and her husband had been pruning it with shears since they moved in about 50 years ago and they just followed the contours of the hedge without bothering too much about straight lines and sharp edges.
It’s a lovely thing: all curves and sensual, billowing waves. It takes me eight hours to prune it with hand shears each year, which is a real labour of love, but it’s worth it. You can see bits of it swelling and retreating as the years go by: holes appear and disappear, and bulges are smoothed out and then turn up somewhere else. I’ve never been so aware that a hedge is made up of living, breathing plants: beats a boring old box square any day.