Magazine article Sunset

Tabletop Topiaries ... Almost Instantly

Magazine article Sunset

Tabletop Topiaries ... Almost Instantly

Article excerpt

You just wrap a frame with a vine in a pot

PORTABLE TOPIARIES like the ones pictured here are surprisingly quick and easy to make and maintain. They're made by guiding trailing plants up and around wire frames. Their handsome leaves and pleasing shapes make them elegant patio accents or table centerpieces.

Topiary artist Pat Hammer, owner of Samia Rose Topiary in Encinitas, California, shares her expertise in creating these trained-up topiaries.

TOPIARY TOOLS

For each topiary, you'll need a wire frame, a heavy container, fast-draining potting soil, and cotton string or plastic ties to hold plants to the frame (if stems are too stiff to weave easily).

Painted or coated frames are best, since they are less apt to rust. Buy them at florists, garden centers, or by mail. One mail-order source is Cliff Finch's Zoo, 16923 N. Friant Rd., Box 54, Friant, Calif. 93626; (209) 822-2315 (free brochure).

After you choose a frame, find a pot to fit it. As a general guideline, when the exposed frame is inserted into the container, the frame should be at least twice as tall as the container.

PLANTS TO USE

Although many vining plants will work for topiary, the smaller the frame, the smaller the leaf size should be. (If the leaves are too large, the shape of the frame can get lost.)

For small topiary, ivies with leaves about an inch across look best. Small-leafed varieties of English ivy (Hedera helix) are easy to find and use. Among the many choices offering a range of colors, leaf forms, and textures are the nine excellent varieties shown in the photos on page 74. …

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