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Garden Talk: Are you interested in Topiary

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 4, 2009
3:50 PM

Post #6641152

There has been a small discussion in the Mid-Atlantic Garden Objects thread about Topiary dog frames. I have always found topiary to be very fascinating and since we just came back from a visit of the Ladew Gardens one of the Most Outstanding Topiary Gardens in America. I thought I would share a few pics and start a discussion on Topiary Gardening. I'm going to post some of the pics I have taken and put in a few links that I think you will enjoy. Please add comments, post your own pics. Maybe some of you are thinking about starting a Topiary of your own and maybe you will be after reading this thread.
Harvey Ladew was an avid Fox Hunter and this Hunt scene is probably the most recognized Topiary of the Ladew Gardens. There are two riders one going over the jump, five dogs and the fox. We were told that things are a bit shaggy this time of year as you must let the Topiary have a growing period or else they will die.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 4, 2009
4:16 PM

Post #6641273

Here are a few close ups. Four of the dogs are in a pack on one side of the drive. The other dog and fox are out in front of the pack on the other side of the drive

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 4, 2009
4:25 PM

Post #6641303

Here is one of the riders. This one going over the jump.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 4, 2009
5:03 PM

Post #6641463

Here is a back view on the same figure. You can see the underlying branches and the person in the pic is one of the gardners going by on a riding mower. Gives you a sense of scale.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 4, 2009
5:06 PM

Post #6641473

These pic were taken at the Philadelphia Flower Show in 08. They are filled wire frames planted mostly with ivy.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 4, 2009
5:15 PM

Post #6641501

More from the Phila Show. Not sure how well you can see him but one of the dogs is lying on his back with his paws in the air getting a good back scratch. It was just so cute.

I have a friend that has one of this type of frame. She has planted 4 small boxwoods at each foot and tells me it is growing very nicely but not ready for pics yet. The boxwood wouldn't need the support of a frame but she is using the frame as a clipping guide.

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DATURA12
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 5, 2009
2:21 PM

Post #6645525

Hollyanns, here is a photo of my sofa topiary in its fifth year now. As you know I was really ill when I started this project, it really got me through some really tough days. I have come a long way from five years ago. Sometimes when I look at the sofa I realize just how far I have really progressed and can't believe how sick I was when I started it. It puts the disability into perspective.

If anyone would like to know how I made it, please post.

Peg

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DATURA12
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 5, 2009
2:43 PM

Post #6645604

Here is a project in progress...I don't normally use frames for my topiaries. I won this one so I decided to use it, its simply a boxwood with the frame slipped over the top. The frame is about a foot high and eighteen inches wide. I am letting the box grow to about two inches outside of the frame so that the frame will not be seen. It will take a full year I expect to fill it. I check it on a regular basis and clip whatever growth is more than two inches. This forces the plant to fill in foliage. In this case I do not have to do what is called "selective pruining" which I use in all other topiaries without frames. Selective pruining is used to control the size and direction of the new growth.

I am not a big fan of frames that are stuffed with moss, wrapped in fishing line with a few spotty plants growing on them, I rarely use them, only if I am forced to. True old school topiaries are not created in that way. The stuffed frame technique to me is a trying to pass itself off as a topiary. That technique is more about instant gratification. A topiary usually takes years to make, it is a labor of love.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 5, 2009
6:12 PM

Post #6646454

Datura12, Thank you so much for posting your great sofa. I have always loved that picture. I have wondered where the idea came from "I'm going to do a topiary think I will make a sofa". And who would have thought that a Topiary Sofa and table would be so very interesting. Love the little watering can project. How big will it be and where in your garden are you putting it?
Zuzu
Sebastopol, CA
(Zone 9a)

June 6, 2009
9:11 AM

Post #6649065

I love your mosaic watering can. Did you make that also?

ge1836

ge1836
Pittsford, NY
(Zone 6a)

June 9, 2009
8:26 AM

Post #6662342

I love to look at topiaries but dont have the flexability to keep them trimmed.
I admire the creative aspect of them.
Just dont have the time for maintenence.
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 9, 2009
10:44 AM

Post #6662487

I have been thinking that my clipped yew might qualify as a topiary. Not quite what I think of when thinking of them but it does have an aspect that might put it in that category. Here is a picture. It is L shaped measuring the inside of the long leg of the L approx 12ft and the inside of the short leg of the L is 9ft it's a good 4ft wide and about 8ft+ high.
Ric grew it from seedlings given to him by a co-worker.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 9, 2009
10:52 AM

Post #6662507

This is the aspect that I think might move it from just a hedge to topiary status. The arch that goes into the secret garden area. It was originally planted with this in mind and I can remember when it finally got high enough to let the branches start filling in over head. Looks a bit small in the picture but I can take a wheelbarrow though it and Ric's 6ft will go though without stooping. Although I do wish it was just a bit wider.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 9, 2009
11:17 AM

Post #6662567

After seeing these topiary at Ladew Ric is thinking of adding swags at the top edge like these have. He says I can't have a window in my hedge and I told him that's alright I wouldn't want the windows or the cones at the top.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 9, 2009
11:23 AM

Post #6662582

Although... maybe a couple of these swans gliding across the top might be nice. LOL

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DATURA12
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 9, 2009
3:35 PM

Post #6663543

Hollyann, I am sorry this is late, its not showing in my home page as one of the threads I am watching. I assumed there were no replies.

I am still trying to figure out why I choose to make a sofa topiary. I was on a lot of pain killers at the time, so maybe it was the drugs! LOL I don't know if you can tell but its about 4.5' tall and 9' long, a pretty good size.

The gardening can is already placed in the garden and should take a year to fill in. I feed it high nitrogen to make it grow faster.

Your hedge is considered a glorieta in the topiary world. Definition is ..." a group of trees trained and clipped into a radiating circle of arches to form an open pavilion" congrats you have a topiary! Grow your hedge a little taller and you sure can have a window.

I actually did form my photinias into a wave at the top. I made a template from plywood and added a string level to keep it straight. I stopped doing it because the photinias had a fungus which was just to much to deal with, I had to take some of them out.

ZUZU, I did not make the mosaic watering can, I bought it at Wal Mart several years ago, its falling apart so I just use it as a prop now.

GE1836, I am assuming when you don't have the flexibility to make a topiary you mean physically? If not and its a time issue you could easily use boxwood in one gallon containers to make one. Pot it up in a nice container and you will only need to prune it once a month. Boxwood is a slow grower and easy to prune in that size. Here is a pic of a bird and a teddy bear, keep in mind they are in progress.

Good luck,

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DATURA12
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 9, 2009
3:37 PM

Post #6663554

This is a bird, I have several different shapes of these. Doesn't look like much now.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 9, 2009
8:57 PM

Post #6664886

The Drugs made me do it. LOL That sofa looks very comfortable maybe you were in need of some comfort at the time. I know you were dealing with all that pain. I think it maybe a bit bigger than I thought. I was thinking about the size of a love seat but it is bigger than that.
Not sure about the windows but maybe some balls on the ends and one at the junction of the L might be nice. It's about as tall as I want it but I am starting to think of something more than the straight top.
DATURA12
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 9, 2009
9:08 PM

Post #6664926

Yeah see what happens, I'll add this and that. That's how its starts and you end up making topiaries out of all your garden plants. LOL Or you end up like Pearl Fryar, they just did a story on him on TV the other night. ck. it out

http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/pearl-fryars-topiary-garden-a-cut-above-average/pictures/page-8.html
lusarytole
Fairmont, WV

June 11, 2009
2:19 AM

Post #6671267

This is Miss Petunia... Her skirt is full of wave petunias, I'm hoping they will cover her skirt this summer. I just posted some other photos of her under Garden Art...

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 13, 2009
1:22 AM

Post #6680213

I love Miss Petunia, Bet her skirt will really look good when it fills in. She is going to be very interesting when she all grows out. What did you use for her hair? Love the basket she is holding in her lap. I'm going over to the Garden Art Forum to look at your thread. Thanks for posting her.
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 19, 2010
8:43 AM

Post #7475459

I received a topiary frame for Christmas. I am so excited. It was a gift from a friend, the one with the topiary dog. She got three of them one for herself, her daughter and me. I am planing on getting 4 box woods and planting one at each foot. I want a boxwood topiary not a stuffed one. The frame is approx 30 inches high and 42 inches long. Just use the fame as a cutting guide. I'll take any suggestions you may have. Holly

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ridesredmule

ridesredmule
Barnesville (Charle, GA
(Zone 8b)

January 28, 2010
11:30 PM

Post #7506555

That should make a beautiful topiary.
Good luck!
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 29, 2010
2:04 AM

Post #7507086

Thanks Ridesredmule, We use to have horses years ago so it is a pretty appropriate topiary to start with. We even had a pair of small white mules for a short time. We will be going to a couple of flower shows that will have some topiary displays mostly the fill and grow type but they are pretty interesting, too.
Datura, I stumbled across that Pearl Fryer story too a couple of months ago. I found his topiary exceptional. I loved the free-form work. I was wondering if Netflix would have it. They have a whole catalogue of documentary films. I think Netflix must have practically everything ever put on disk. LOL

ridesredmule

ridesredmule
Barnesville (Charle, GA
(Zone 8b)

January 29, 2010
1:44 PM

Post #7508219

Pearl Fryer is a very astoning person and very talented. i saw one of him on TV and was very impressed. Altlanta, Ga is going to have their Southeastern Flow show and I am panning on going to check it out. They always have some grand displays. I'll look for Topiary too.
stormyla
Norristown, PA
(Zone 6b)

February 4, 2010
4:13 AM

Post #7527788

Holly, That Ladew Garden was on my list of things to see this weekend. But alas when we drove by, it was buried under snow. Oh Well, I'll get there one day. Can't wait to see you start on your horse.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 21, 2010
1:08 PM

Post #7576485

nice thread Holly!
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

March 3, 2010
2:32 AM

Post #7601091

I would love to do a topiary. My father was trying to make bonzai trees in Fairbanks, Alaska out of tamarack. Looked pretty good for up there. I am in Anchorage, a nice comfy zone 5, but with a long winter. I am wondering if Siberian Pea would work as a topiary. I have been planting hedges of them for almost 40 years and they prune nicely. Very tidy, strong with little leaves and pretty little (tiny) yellow flowers. I don't think that boxwood will grow here. Or at least won't survive the winter.
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 3, 2010
9:43 AM

Post #7601666

mstella, How is it up there in balmy Zone 5. We have had so much snow here in Pa. that I'm starting to feel as though I might live in Alaska. What a beautiful state you live in. Sounds like your Siberian Pea would be a good choice for topiary. If you decide to try one I would love to see it in progress.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

March 15, 2010
10:41 AM

Post #7630911

I guess we are even as we also got a massive dump a week ago. Just when the pond had clear water over about 3sf. Had to go out and scrape away the snow from the deicer and falls to get open water to the top. I have fish and they really need to venting and oxygen exchange. Been running in the low teens for a week, but it can't hold out much longer.

Guess I will have to decide on a shape and bend some limbs??? As a purist I know you don't believe in using metal frames, but I am not very good at 'winging it.' Course, I don't have to create the Taj Majal first off the bat I guess. LOL. I KNOW. I could just let one grow up one stem (trunk) and make a lollypop out of it. Might even manage to see it done before I 'go into the light.' Sorry, I am of the black Irish humor. It has to be done in no later than 20 years. Then, maybe I could just let it grow more and then make TWO balls, one over the other. Might work and what a fun project. Not necessarily a good one for someone as impatient as I am ,but worth a shot. Thanks for the article, and I will post results in a year or so? ROTFL

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 15, 2010
11:13 AM

Post #7630990

mstella, Your yard looks lovely covered in snow. I can say that now, the last of the snow covering my yard has finally disappeared. LOL I'm not a purist if I want anything other than a basic shape I will need a form to follow, too. I wouldn't even say that I don't like the moss filled forms as much as that wasn't what I wanted to do right now. I have been looking at some other forms of topiary. There are some really pretty things posted over in the Coleus Forum they are working on training standards and wreaths. I go and find it and post a link.
Love the "go into the light" I am getting to the stage that I buy bigger plants. I have huge trees growing in my yard that were tiny little seedling planted 30 years ago. Now if I want a tree I go buy a good sized one. I want to actually see it grow into something. Ric bought these very pretty variegated boxwoods but they are small. I would have spent the $$ to buy ones much bigger.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

March 17, 2010
1:44 PM

Post #7636607

I'm with you. My husband wanted a black pine but kept looking at the little 2' ers. Nonsense. I bought one that was 8' tall and had a truck bring it in. We can even see it in the deep snow to decorate for Christmas. I may investigate to see if there is a hardy boxwood that would make it here. Good gardening this summer
Mary
DATURA12
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 19, 2010
4:15 PM

Post #7981524

Hollyanns. looks like you have it all figured out...do exactly what you posted. Good Luck
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

July 19, 2010
6:55 PM

Post #7981955

Unfortunately I didn't get any Topiary started this spring. We had to go to Fl for 3 weeks in May to help Ric's Father and Ric got sick as soon as we returned. Things are finally starting to come together
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 4, 2011
3:49 AM

Post #8405885

Ric took his clippers to my much over grown Holly. When I planted it many years ago I was thinking it would be a Holly Tree with pyramid type shape. Instead a got a very large ball. It is much bigger than it looks in this picture. Really huge.

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HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 4, 2011
4:00 AM

Post #8405901

So Ric wanted to try his hand a Topiary Shapes and I said have at it. The end of last Nov he starting cutting it back. The form he is going for is a box bottom with a pyramid top. It isn't quite showing the definition yet but he has a good start on it and I think this summers growing season will fill it in and the shape will become much more defined. He cut back more than two truck loads of branches off this. We had people coming and getting Holly branches for their Holiday Decorations one person filled their pick up with them and I still had twice as much of it left over.

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Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 5b)

March 4, 2011
9:07 AM

Post #8406473

I haven't been 'here' in a while. Was re-reading and saw comments about moss. I have moss, Irish and Scotch, that grows well here. Looks like do-do in the spring, all brown and dead looking ,but then it takes off. I would love to get a form and make a topiary out of moss. But what would i fill the innards with? Sphagnum. that is probably somewhere in this forum. also where could I order a form that wouldn't break the bank shipping to Alaska? Thanks for any ideas. Now that I have accepted retirement (somewhat guilt free) I am fully focusing on my garden and pond. Daughter (grown) and I are headed to Portland to knock around the end of May and will visit Schreiner's Iris Nursery and Adleman's Peony Farm. Long a dream of mine. Also want to see the Japanese and Chinese gardens in Portland as well as the Rose Garden.
BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 28, 2011
7:27 PM

Post #8661125

Hi All,
While passing through Bishopville I noticed some topiary along the road and stoped and asked a waitress who did it. Long story short-Pearl Fryer is the most gracious host and guide even though we just drove up into his driveway. He took his time to show us his complete collection of topiary and other metal objects he had welded. He further explained exactly how he created all of it. Disney and their imaginators have nothing on this man. He collected many of his plants from a nursery dump that were destined to die and brought them back to life. I love the huge arch he has that he has allowed many weddings held there. If you ever pass through that little town don't miss his display throughout his yard. He worked many nights before he retired with a light and until midnight. He definitely is a driven person.
BTW I have been looking for a frame for a mermaid on many sites and no luck yet. Needs to be at least 5 feet high. Anyone know of a place I can get one. I have never done any topiary so I feel a frame is necessary. I want to do it with creeping fig. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Bonnie Davis
HollyAnnS
Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 28, 2011
7:56 PM

Post #8661190

There is a documentary available on Netflix, I think. It's called "A Man Called Pearl", it is truly inspiring. It's all about Pearl Fryer, I really hope to get to meet him in person. BTW I've started pruning my garlands into my yew, it had to wait a year because of the snow damage. I'm going to attempt a couple of grafts over the arch to strengthen it and have planned a couple of espaliers, one with climbing hydrangea, and a Belgian weave, with mixed pears. Time will tell. Holly's Ric

PS I'll post a couple of pics later! Ric

This message was edited Jun 28, 2011 10:57 PM
BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 29, 2011
5:56 AM

Post #8661686

Sounds like a WONDERFUL adventure. Don't know what a Belgian weave is just sounds fascinating. I'm sure it will be absolutely beautiful. It's really great the way we can enjoy the fruits of our labor. Much luck and we can enjoy your pics of the developing masterpiece.
Bonnie Davis

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