Out of the h-edge for an annual trim at Powis Castle

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It took seed before the British Empire and is older than the United States, but the 46ft tall yew hedge is still wowing visitors to a National Trust property - thanks to a dedicated team of gardeners.

This week the team of horticultural experts at Powis Castle in Welshpool have started their annual trimming of the 300-year-old giant yew trees. Using hedge cutters and with the aid of cherry pickers and ear defenders, the team expects to be working on the trees for several weeks.

It's not a job for the faint-hearted, but head gardener David Swanton has a head for heights and loves the challenge.

He said today: "It's a huge job to trim all the high yew topiary. Before the introduction of powered hedge trimmers it used to take four gardeners four months to clip the hedges, all while balancing on very long ladders. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

"These days it takes two gardeners six weeks to trim the box, two gardeners 12 weeks to cut the formal yew and one gardener - usually me - working in the cherry picker up to 10 weeks to cut the high topiary."

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