Banbury area gardener is selected as one of the country's top topiary designers

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A Deddington gardener is celebrating recognition as one of the country's top ‘home gardening’ topiary designers.

Petra Hoyer-Millar was runner up in the Home Gardener category of the Topiary Awards competition organised by Henchman – a company that makes special ladders to keep those working at height as safe as possible.

The competition has been staged to celebrate and honour the centuries-old tradition of shaping living sculptures from plants, and it has drawn entries from across Britain.

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Mrs Hoyer-Millar’s entry was a design featuring a series of perfectly clipped hedges, crafted with artistic precision and skill into large, rounded shapes that flow to create a cloud-like effect, guiding the eye along their length.

Petra Hoyer-Millar is runner up in the inaugural Henchman Topiary AwardsPetra Hoyer-Millar is runner up in the inaugural Henchman Topiary Awards
Petra Hoyer-Millar is runner up in the inaugural Henchman Topiary Awards

The hedges are a perfect feature leading up to a typical Hornton stone, Oxfordshire house.

The winning entry in the Home Gardener category went to David Hawson from Aberdeenshire, whose design featured a whimsical scene featuring countryside animals and marine creatures carefully sculpted into a continuous hedge, resulting in a high-impact horizon.

Trained as an economist, Petra Hoyer-Millar is a multi-linguist who spent years working at a desk in the city, working in corporate treasury, banking and finance as well as marketing and PR. However her love of gardening was undeniable.

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”It boils down to this, I love to garden, so I know what a garden fork is for,” she said. “I garden; I write about gardens, my garden, my poorly neglected allotment, the horticultural industry and all manner of garden related things."

Petra Hoyer-Millar's topiary hedges, expertly clipped and giving a cloud-like effect in this Oxfordshire gardenPetra Hoyer-Millar's topiary hedges, expertly clipped and giving a cloud-like effect in this Oxfordshire garden
Petra Hoyer-Millar's topiary hedges, expertly clipped and giving a cloud-like effect in this Oxfordshire garden

Mrs Hoyer-Millar is editor of the new The Dirt News - an industry news platform for the horticultural professional and enthusiast. And as a member of the garden press, she also write articles for some illustrious national garden publications - Gardens Illustrated, English Garden Magazine, Inside Horticulture and Garden Media Guild magazine.

She is very popular on Instagram where she charts her work, gardening triumphs and the antics of her garden-destroying labrador puppies. She has RHS horticultural diplomas so can propagate, plant and prune her way through anything green. And she and her husband Luke open their own garden through the National Trust Open Gardens Scheme.

Clare Lenaghan-Balmer, Head of Marketing at Henchman said: “We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Henchman Topiary Awards and to recognise their exceptional talent and passion for topiary.

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"We were blown away by the quality of submissions – both in the Professional and Home Gardener category – so much so that the judges have selected a first place winner, second place and a highly commended, as well as the Henchman’s Choice award.

Petra Hoyer-Millar's beautiful topiary making a delight feature to divide the garden from the drivewayPetra Hoyer-Millar's beautiful topiary making a delight feature to divide the garden from the driveway
Petra Hoyer-Millar's beautiful topiary making a delight feature to divide the garden from the driveway

"Each winning sculpture is a testament to the creativity and skill that’s out there across Britain.”

The entries were evaluated, based on a comprehensive set of criteria designed to assess their creativity, craftsmanship and overall impact, by an esteemed panel of topiary experts and horticulturalists including; Elizabeth Hilliard, Editor of European Boxwood and Topiary Society (EBTS) magazine TOPIARIUS; Michael Buck, Head of Horticulture at Creepers Nursery; Andy Bourke, professional topiarist better known as The Hedge Barber and Owen Simpson, managing director at Henchman.