Scots gardener wins award for Moby Dick inspired hedge

An Aberdeenshire gardener has been honoured for his creative hedge art - including work inspired by Moby Dick, animals and even himself.

When David Hawson and his wife Susie moved from Yorkshire to a run-down cottage in Monymusk almost 50 years ago, they decided to plant a hedge to keep out the local wildlife.

Over the years they noticed some uncut hedging started to resemble fish, and the couple decided to start adapting the greenery as it grew.

Now Mr Hawson has won the Home Gardener category at the Henchman's Topiary Awards ceremony in London, with his designs described by organisers as "a testament to the creativity and skill that’s out there across Britain."

The 74 year-old painter told BBC Scotland News: "The cottage was derelict, so it had no garden.

"Being in the middle of the country, we were prone to getting livestock wandering in. Neither of us likes fences, they do make such a visual statement about keeping out.

"We bought tiny little seedlings, never realising we would do topiary. That really grew as the hedge grew - occasionally we'd look out the window, think 'oh, that looks a bit like a bird' and help it on its way."

Mr Hawson said that he likes nature to "suggest" a shape for the greenery. His favourite designs include a scene from the famous novel Moby Dick.

He added: "We have Captain Ahab's ship, the whale and the fish jumping up around it - I like the fact that on one side I have a maritime scene, and on the other it's British birds, along with self-portraits of Susie and me."

Despite the intricate designs, Mr Hawson said the work usually only takes two days to complete.

He was delighted to win his award, which was judged by a panel of topiary experts and horticulturalists, with his prizes including a new ladder to help continue his work.

Mr Hawson added that he is now quite used to people stopping near the cottage for a look at the topiary.

He said: "We do get people who've never seen it before stopping and smiling, and I like that. Often gardeners take life very seriously, and in this case it's exceptionally silly. That makes me smile."