THE EDIT WITH Charlotte Molesworth
25th May 2023 3 minutes
The Shaping of Nature's Beauty: An Interview with Topiary Artist Charlotte Molesworth
In the realm of Topiary, few names hold as much significance as Charlotte Molesworth, whose deep-rooted passion for nature was nurtured by the enchanting landscapes of the English countryside.
Charlotte’s distinct artistic perspective and zeal for horticulture have established her as a renowned figure in ‘living sculptures’. She has devoted her entire existence to painting and moulding live plants into mesmerising artworks celebrating the natural world's splendour. Her artistic masterpieces testify to her profound admiration for the organic, breathing universe and her unwavering dedication to environmentally conscious gardening.
AMLY: You grew up surrounded by the lush green countryside of England. Can you share a childhood memory that inspired your love for gardening and topiary?
Charlotte: As with so many people, I was deeply influenced by my mother's garden!!! She was a busy farmer's wife, and they started one of the first farm shops, but she had a very special garden with old-fashioned cottage garden flowers and TOPIARY!! I learned early on that Topiary is ideal for busy people as Yew and Box only need an annual clip, and they give 365 days of delight!!
AMLY: Many people find solace in nature and gardening. How do your Topiary creations contribute to the emotional and mental well-being of those who encounter them?
Charlotte: The Topiary certainly adds a degree of fantasy and certain mystery and contributes to the secret hidden places in our garden- one needs SOLACE and PEACE for mental well-being!
AMLY: Topiary requires patience, meticulousness, and a long-term vision. How do you cultivate these qualities in a fast-paced world where instant gratification often takes precedence?
Charlotte: This contrast sets it aside in gardening - one is absorbed in the shaping, and you grow in confidence with practice. The plant often reveals its inclinations, guiding one towards a particular form - most importantly, you need a slow-growing plant AND THE RIGHT TOOLS!!!
AMLY: Topiary art requires precise trimming and shaping. Have you ever had a "bad hair day" with your plants? Tell us about when a Topiary creation turned out differently than planned.
Charlotte: On one of our cutting courses, unseen by us, a prankster cut a huge smile-like slash into the side of a hedge, so I tied other pieces surrounding the scar over it, and three years later it was gone! And I remember the bird's heads in the Peacock Garden were cut off, but new heads have been trained and grown, and one would never have known - Topiary is a LIVING sculpture so with time, it recovers again!!!
AMLY: If you could create a topiary sculpture for any historical figure, who would it be and why?
Charlotte: Alice in Wonderland? Who should it be!?? Henry Moore, Noah!???
AMLY: As a gardener, you have a deep connection with nature. How does this influence your skincare rituals, and do you have any tips you swear by?
Charlotte: SHEILD from the SUN! keep your HAT ON!! I SO LOVE AMLY’s refreshing mists, and I put Sleep Tight on probably three times a day! When I come in at lunchtime, and my skin feels dry, I give it some care and apply Meadow Dew - I press it onto my skin and around my mouth. I only ever wash in cold water; avoiding heat is probably good as well AND EATING TONS of homegrown salads!!!!!!!!!!!
AMLY: If AMLY were a plant in your topiary garden, what kind of plant would we be?
Charlotte: Hhmmnnn- well it would be a succulent with lots of lovely juice inside, then of course it would have a sweet scent and be totally edible - a cross between a Rose, an Aloe, and a Dandelion as it’s SO good for you and possibly a Nettle for its many therapeutic properties despite its sting!!!!! How interesting that many of these plants with their hugely beneficial properties ALL have barbed, thorny or stinging defence mechanisms!!!