Maintaining The Pattern
It isn't hard, though, to start your own espalier. The principle is simple. Plants grow from a central stem, known as a leader. If you snip the leader, shoots emerge from buds on the stem's sides, below the snip, and from the top. The best two side shoots you choose will be the ones you guide to create the boughs of your stylized tree by attaching them to wall hooks or wires; the topmost shoot becomes the new leader and, eventually, the trunk. As the pattern emerges, maintenance is merely a matter of pruning away growth that detracts from your desired shape and keeping the plant low enough for easy tending.
Shown: Camellia branches create a leafy crisscross design. Pyracantha, jasmine, and flowering quince are other good choices for this type of espalier.