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How to Make a Topiary

Garden Crafts

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

STEP 1.

How to make a topiary

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.

STEP 2.

How to make a topiary

Hop over to your nearby olive farm (I did the first year we were here), or 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 above.

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? LOL. Of course, most of us are not near olive treest. So what you can use instead are other thin branches from your garden or local park (if allowed).

I prefer to inspire you to create all-natural, upcycling crafts. But, if you must buy something, ..ere are topiary frames for purchase for excellent prices, most made of a metal shape with a chicken-wire body.

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…

STEP 3.

How to make a topiary

Now here comes the secret to making olive tree branches work as topiary form:

  • Cut a piece of approx. 10 inches of metal garden or florist wire.
  • Leaving an approx. 3-4″ tail on either side, wrap it around 3 inches worth of your handmade circle form.   This section will be the bottom of your topiary form.
  • Stick the two tails into the earth of your pot with ivy. This holds your wreath in place.  

Have a look at the photo with the heart topiary form above and note the two tails or pins sticking out at the bottom. You want to create these kind of pins with your florist wire.

STEP 4.

How to make a topiary

Next, take one of the longs 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.

STEP 5.

How to make a topiary

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 will take you to make your own topiary! Yes, really.

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