The world's oldest topiary garden is Levens Hall, Cumbria, UK, which has topiary designs that are over 300 years old, with the initial planting and training of them carried out in the 1690s. The shapes include Chess pieces, the Judge's Wig and the Great Umbrellas.
The topiary triming takes many months, using lightweight aluminium scaffolding to reach the higher points. It is usually carried out from late August onwards, once a year. Parts of the Elizabethan Hall itself were built between 1250-1300 and has been influenced by the ideas of its different owners.
Topiary comes from the word 'topiarius' which was the name given to the slaves of ancient Egypt and Rome who were given the job of shaping the bushes.