How to Make a Topiary

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Lets make a topiary. I will show you how.

It is winter and not much creative gardening going on besides making winter veggies and protecting whatever you planted from frost. It is however a time that in Italy, the olive farmers clip their olive trees again, and loads of free branches are to be had. And we can have fun with those branches, yessery!


Topiaries, or natural garden sculptures, can be quite expensive. But if  you make your own, you realize you can make a thousand for the price of one store-bought sculptured plant.  The secret: patience, a bit of ingenuity, and those olive tree branches. Because these branches make great topiary frames!


Step-by-step Topiary Making Instructions

How to make a topiary
1. Start with some ivy.  Purchasing a plant with at least two long trails of leaves, or taking a clipping with roots and trails from a plant you already have.   Ivy is pretty cheap at the moment. I think I paid $1.95 for a nice plant a couple of trails of ivy leaves.



How to make a topiary
2. Hop over to your nearby olive farm (I did the first year we were here), clip your own olive trees (I did the second year) for a bunch of the thinner branches.  Take all the leaves off. Weave the olive tree branches into a circle, till your base wreath looks like photo #2. Do not make it too heavy with too many branches, although you could add a few more branches than I have used here if you wish, as it will make your topiary look fuller from the start. You want to create a topiary frame that’s stable. That’s the most important criteria.


No olive trees nearby?

Alternatively, use other thin branches from your garden or local park, or if you must buy something, go to your N. American dollar store and pick up a wreath made of olive branches, or purchase an official topiary frame, which is often made of a metal shape with a chicken-wire body. Here you can find topiary frames for near wholesale prices.


What we are doing today is pretty simple and straight forward. If you however want to make a topiary heart shape, well, than I highly recommend you purchase a topiary heart frame . This one here is only US$ 6.80, which seems inexpensive.

I’ll talk more about special topiary forms later, as I have some amazing topiary garden photos to show you of the most amazing living sculptures. But for now, we do an easy home decorating project…


How to make a topiary

3. Now here comes the secret to making olive tree branches work as topiary form: you take a bit of metal wire and fold it around 3 inches of your form.   On both sides of those 3 inches you should have a pin coming out of 3 inches, pin A and pin B.  These two pins are to be at the bottom of your form and you are to stick them into the earth of your pot with ivy. This will hold your wreath in place.   Look at the photo of the heart topiary form and you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to.



4. Next, take one of the
How to make a topiarylongs trails of ivy leaves and weave these around one side of the wreath form.  Take the second and or third trails of leaves and fold them around the wreath going into the other directions.  They will overlap with the first trail around the top of the wreath.  Make sure it’s even and full all over.  


How to make a topiary




5. Add some plant food to stimulate your ivy into growing a bit faster and fuller, and you’re done.   Easy enough, right? Now go find 10 minutes to do this creative DIY project, because that’s all that it took me. 

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