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Topiaries Add Color and Texture to Interior Design

Sunday, December 10, 2023

You’ve probably seen topiaries in gardens you’ve visited. The Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater is home to several of them, including a cowboy hat, a pair of boots and a bison. 


With some 10- to 12-gauge wire, a flower pot, wire cutters, pliers, smaller wire, a little patience and a few other household items, gardeners who enjoy topiaries can make them on a smaller scale to enhance the interior décor of their home. 


Topiary is the horticultural practice of training perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees and shrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes. 


The first step is to make a frame out of the 10- or 12-gauge wire. Simple shapes tend to have the best result. This example will be for a heart-shaped topiary. Check the local craft and hobby stores for pre-made frames for those who don’t want to make their own frame. 


To make a heart-shaped frame, trace the desired size heart onto a piece of paper. Next, measure the length of wire needed by using a string to outline the design, plus the depth of the pot in which you’ll be planting the topiary. Cut the wire to the length of the string. After cutting the wire to length, find the center and bend it into a v in the center. Next, bend one side of the wire into the heart shape then repeat on the other side. Where the two sides meet and are parallel, fasten with the smaller wire to hold the heart shape. Flare the bottom pieces out to give the frame more stability in the pot. It’s now ready to plant.


Place the frame in the pot and fill the pot with a good potting mix. Plant a trailing plant at the base of the wire shape. Various ivies are available now and work well. Ivies are easy to train and will cover the frame quickly. If you want the frame covered quickly, choose an ivy with long runners. Simply wind the ivy around the frame as it grows. Trim it occasionally to keep the topiary looking neat and holding the shape.


Placement in the home will depend on the type of ivy selected. Most indoor plants like bright light. Be sure to water it appropriately and keep an eye out for pests. A nice topiary also makes a nice gift for a gardening friend this holiday season.

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