Topiary artist Ryan Zoeller talks new competition series ‘Clipped’ on discovery+

Gardening bears, get ready to plant yourselves in front of your tablets, smartphones, laptops or television monitors, because the shears are coming out! 

Today, May 12, discovery+  will drop a special 90-minute premiere episode of Clipped, the first competition series set in the spectacular world of topiary! Hosted by actor Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), the six-episode series follows seven real life “Edward Scissorhands” who create breathtaking sculptures out of meticulously trimmed shrubbery, plants and flowers— designing colorful, larger-than-life, living works of art. 

Throughout the series, competitors will face high-stakes challenges and have their topiary masterpieces evaluated by lead judge and gardening icon Martha Stewart (HGTV’s Martha Knows Best) and an expert panel of judges, including critically acclaimed landscape architect Fernando Wong and lifestyle, landscape and horticultural expert Chris Lambton (HGTV’s Going Yard). 

Each week they decide who makes the cut, who gets clipped, and, in the end, who is crowned as the top topiarist who wins $50,000 cash and bragging rights as the first-ever Clipped champion! New episodes of Clipped will launch each Wednesday on discovery+.

The seven competitors, ready to impress the judges with their breathtaking, innovative horticulture designs or face elimination, includes the beary handsome and talented Ryan Zoeller of New York, New York, who says he has been design-obsessed since he began saving his allowance money at age eleven to buy Wallpaper magazine. 

Ryan Zoeller

Ryan obtained his BFA in Interior Design from the Massachusetts College of Art while simultaneously serving in the Army Reserves. A self-described visionary force within the special events industry, Ryan creates lush and stylish environments for distinguished clientele, including celebrities, US presidents, royalty and sports figures. 

In his current role as Creative Director of a luxury events company, Ryan uses his vast knowledge of floral and botanicals to create curated moments for all company productions. When not overseeing the most complex of event installations, his favorite pastimes include collecting everything nautical, being a foodie and watching James Bond films.

We recently had a quick chat with Ryan to discuss his experiences working on Clipped, and what you can expect!

Kyle Jackson: So, how did you get started in this art of shrubbery trimming/ creating topiary sculptures? 

Ryan Zoeller: I started designing events and floral sculptures about 20 years ago. I always loved playing in the mud. I was a very creative kid and I learned to garden from my Grandmother. She inspired me to find the beauty in botanicals and fauna. 

I started working with flowers right out of college and was a natural with them. I really found it to be the creative outlet that I was looking for. When I started working with flowers as a medium and using them in creative ways, I found a career out of it.

Then one day I was hired to create a sculpture of Lady Gaga in a pop art Koonz style topiary of Lady Gaga for her last performance at Roseland ballroom. At that point I knew that’s what I was determined to do.

KJ: What inspires the types of designs you do?

RZ: Modern design, architecture, fashion, pop culture, childhood experiences, outdoors, the ocean. I would go out in the woods as a kid and would be amazed by the complexity of nature.

KJ: How did you end up auditioning for the show, and how did it feel to get the call that you were cast?

RZ: I just thought it was a great opportunity and thought it was a great way to show the world my work. I was shocked and surprised when I got the casting call.

KJ: So, we heard that SOMEONE (who sits on the judge’s panel) knows what a bear is. Is this true?

RZ: YES! This is true, and she definitely knows how to spot a bear in the woods! 

KJ: What was it like working with Martha Stewart?

RZ: She was such a great judge and so much fun to work with! Martha is truly funny and there is no one better to get judged by. She is the queen of the garden!

KJ: What can you tell our readers about what to expect on Clipped?

RZ: Get ready to see some bushes get trimmed into amazing things!… Not that I like a Clipped bush in the bear community. 

You are going to see some extraordinary living sculptures, some mud thrown around, lots of laughs and even some dad jokes. Get ready to be entertained! 

Fans are invited to connect with the series across the discovery+ digital platforms at discoveryplus.com and via @discoveryplus and #GetClipped on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

To find out more about Ryan Zoeller, visit www.mrzoeller.com and follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.