Topiary is the art of forming evergreen trees and shrubs into any shape. They can also be made from herbs, vines, flowers and fruits--creating visual interest both indoors and outdoors. Making shrub topiary is not as easy as it seems; you need patience and a steady hand to form the shape you have in mind. However, there are also topiary frames in different shapes and sizes available, which even the most amateur gardener can make stand out.
How to Make Your Own Topiary
Select a suitable topiary frame from your local nursery or garden supply center. Besides rabbit, bird and peacock frames, there are also many other shapes including single or stacked balls or boxes.
You can also make your own frame by using heavyweight galvanized wire and wire cutters.
Purchase an appropriately sized container with adequate drainage holes in the bottom for the topiary frame. Make sure it complements the topiary it will contain and the surrounding landscape where it will be placed.
Also purchase a fast growing vine, such as ivy, which is easy to train and remains green all year round. You can also use succulents or grasses.
Fill the pot with good quality potting soil, until it is two-thirds full. Avoid garden soil, since it is heavy and does not drain well. Level the surface with a trowel.
Lower the topiary frame into the container, so it is rests on the soil surface.
Soak sphagnum moss that you will use to fill your topiary form for 15 to 20 minutes. The amount of moss you need depends on the size of your frame. Although it is not essential, using it will make your topiary look full and enhance its appearance.
Squeeze out extra water from the sphagnum moss and stuff it into the topiary frame. Pack it in tightly to make sure there are no gaps in between.
Wrap the frame with fishing line to hold the sphagnum moss in place and prevent it from sticking out. Step back to check where any moss sticks out, and cut it off with scissors.
Poke several holes through the moss that extend to the potting soil with a stick. Plant individual vines into the holes carefully, making sure you do not disturb or push any moss out of the frame. Space these holes 2-inches apart, since the ivy will grow and spread over the frame.
Secure the vines to the frame with wire or hairpins.
Water the topiary regularly to ensure the roots of the vines establish themselves. Hold growing shoots down by securing them to the frame with pins so they cover it completely.