As soon as the leaves have fallen, it's high time for pruning the hedges & espaliers, pollards & coppices—and, below, my topiary of hardy orange. Twenty-five years ago, my goal was just to form a standard: A sphere atop a trunk. The tree showed no sign of topping out, though, so I let a central stem lengthen. Soon I had created a second sphere above the first. Still the tree hadn't topped out—but, with just an eight-foot stepladder, I had.
A third sphere would begin fourteen feet above ground, but a still-taller stepladder wasn't the answer. Instead, I purchased the orchard ladder at the left.