The most elegant and interesting gardens have shaped bushes and topiaries. They add a touch of whimsy to otherwise ordinary shrubs and plants, and can serve as excellent focal points for outdoor gatherings. Even a small yard can benefit from the unexpected shapes and textures of a topiary.
Because of its dramatic color, black rubber mulch can provide a great backdrop for garden topiaries. The no-nonsense tone of this particular rubber mulch makes a good match for rounded shrubs and other plants that can be coaxed into different shapes and textures. Below are some of the most suitable plants to be made into topiaries, and are also complementary to black rubber mulch.
The best shrubs to be shaped into topiaries are those that have small leaves yet a thick foliage. They can get a bit overgrown yet retain their shape without looking too shabby, or begging for a stricter pruning maintenance schedule. Japanese holly fits this description and shares a lot of the characteristics of other dense boxwood shrubs. It is also easy to care for, are hardy in many zones, and the leaves maintain a sheen that doesn’t easily fade in the changing seasons. In springtime, small white flowers grow on the Japanese holly, which will show up nicely with black rubber mulch as backdrop.
Surprisingly, herbs can be transformed into small topiaries that smell wonderful. Lavender is one of the best examples of this. You can shape its dense foliage into simple geometric designs, or go all-out with sculptural inspiration. Black rubber mulch will highlight its pretty purple blooms and frost-green leaves. You can arrange a small row of lavender topiaries near your front door and add some black rubber mulch to keep insects away. The night breeze will make your lavender topiaries’ delicious scent waft tantalizingly in the air.
If you want tall, dramatic topiaries, go for the Alberta spruce. It’s a favorite for column-like topiaries in more formal gardens, and for spiraling or conical ones in more urban spaces. These “accent” trees are a favorite especially during the winter season because of their elegance and stateliness. Now imagine their bright green needles against a backdrop of checked black and white rubber mulch patterns. The possibilities are endless! Just remember not to do “volcano mulching” - piling up rubber mulch too close and to high around the tree base can damage root growth.