Topiary was invented by Mary Queen of Scots while imprisoned in England and it is claimed that during the 19 years of her confinement, she clipped more than 1,300 box hedges into the recognisable shape of her second husband, Lord Darnley, in various states of arousal.

Today, it is mainly practised at National Trust properties and occasionally on the outskirts of Kettering, with the most popular shapes being pyramids, rabbits and life-size likenesses of the 1950s singer, Alma Cogan.