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» Making Your Own Topiary

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Making Your Own Topiary
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Topiary is the age old art of shaping plants or hedges into the shape of animals, trees, geometric objects of any shape or size.

There are two methods of making topiaries.

The first is to train the plants into desired forms while the second uses forms and grows the plant over the form, pruning to keep the shape as is necessary.

While many topiaries such as spirals and large hedges are very formal in their look, some of them have evolved to be fun and fanciful in their overall look and feel, such as the elephant below.

You can easily add whimsical appeal to your own garden by the use of topiary, in shapes such as rabbits, fishes or a huge bird.

Where to Put Them?

Topiary may be used to frame an entry door to your home, to line a path, or create a centerpiece for your garden or yard. You may even turn your hedges into topiaries by clipping parts of them into shapes, perhaps a cone, or a round globe.

The best speciments for garden topiary are evergreen trees, shrubs, herbs and plants which trail or wind and can be wound over forms to produce the desired result. The shrubs or trees should have strong woody stems, dense leaves and be readily able to withstand pruning frequently.

A good choice for beginners is a geometric figure, such as a square, a rectangle or an obelisk.

Make the framework for it by pounding wooden stakes into the ground on all four sides of a young shrub.

Form wire mesh over the stakes in the shape that you desire the shrub to be, such as in a square or rectangle, and keep the shrub inside it.

As the plant grows, clip any leaves or fronds that grow outside the wire mesh.

Once the shrub has filled the “mold” clip it into shape again, and remove the wire mesh, leaving the shape that you want . Clip regularly to keep the shape as you want it to be.

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