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Here's what the Oxford English dictionary has to say on the matter:
topiary (toh-pi-er-i) n. the art of clipping shrubs into ornamental shapes.
But while quoting the dictionary is all very well and good, there's so much more to topiary! It can be fun, frivolous, stylish, hilarious, historic, artistic, or simply an easy way to make a unique gift or garden statement. The only boundaries are your imagination, and the sharpness of your secateurs!