A growing trend in gardening is to add wire formed animals such as lions, turtles, horses and alligators to the home landscape.

Some of the tools you may need:
Transplant fertilizer; water-soluble fertilizer; secateurs; pencil; crochet hook; long fibered peat moss; water; kitchen knife; soil less mix; topiary shears.

WARNING: Never use soil-less mixes or any form of peat moss in a dry state. They pose a respiratory hazard.  They can also hold up to fifteenTopiary_Lion times their own weight in water.  This will make them very heavy. Therefore large topiaries should be planted as close as possible to their final position in the home landscape.

These wire forms are either pre-stuffed or you fill it yourself with long fibered peat Moss.  The larger forms are usually constructed in two half’s which are later locked together with lock ties.  If they are pre-stuffed remove the center of the peat from the body and take your selected plants and tip them up inside Topiary_Turtlethe cavity.  Using a crochet hook or pencil gently pull the plants leaves up through the wires.  If the plant is very large then you can take the wire snips and cut several wires to allow the plant to be positioned.  The wires can then be folded back in to secure the plant in place.   In smaller diameter areas of the wire form small plants can be tucked in by bending the wires then using the crochet hook or pencil to create a hole where the plant can be inserted.  The peat Moss is firmTopiary_Horseed around its roots and the wires if necessary can then be bent back into their original position. These procedures are repeated until the topiary form is as covered as much as you want. The general rule for the spacing of the plants is small plants two to three inch centers vines are usually placed on six-inch centers.   Large plants can be divided into smaller plants by carefully cutting their root balls with a sharp kitchen knife or secateurs.

The Soil-less mix or long fibered peat moss has no nutrient value.  So when you have completed planted your topiary water in the plants with a transplant fertilizer containing a rooting hormone.  On a regular basis fertilizer the animals with 20-20-20 for green growth, or 15-30-15 for flowering.

Use ferning pins to tack vines to the long fibered peat moss and trim regularly with scissors or secateurs.

Watering depends a lot on the demand by the plant material and there growing environment.  Adjust your watering appropriately.  Topiaries will generally dry out quickly so check them daily until you see their watering pattern.

Over Wintering your Topiary
Best stored in a bright frost free area reduce their watering but never let them dry out. If they are to big to move try this, place stakes in the ground and wrap a single thickness of burlap one to two inches above the ground and one foot above the top of the Topiary and open at the top. In harsh climates stuff the burlap with straw.

These pictures were taken at the Niagara Parks Mosaiculture Garden display in 2002.

Hens & Chicks
Full sun tolerant or drought

Vinca minor
tolerates dry shade

Vinca m. aureo-variegata
partial shade / shade

full sun, rich, moist, well-drained

Ajuga m. crispa
Rich, moist, well-drained

Sedum acre
moist, well-drained, tolerant of drough

Black Brass Buttons
Lepinellas platt’s black
moist, full sun, part shade, well-drained

Creeping Jenny
Lysimachia nummularia
part shade / full shade, moist soil

Hutchinsia alpina
full sun, well-drained,

full sun, part shade

Creeping Fig
Ficus pumila
moist, well-drained, no direct sun

Mondo Grass
full sun, well-drained, moise

Dianthus ‘Tiny Rubies’
Alkaline, moist, well-drained, sun

Baby Tears (difficult)
Helxine soleirolii
moist, shade, well-drained

Drought tolerant, moist, well-drained

Arabis alpine variegata
moist, well-drained, sun

Sea Thrift
Armeria maritma
moist, well-drained, full sun

Sweet Woodruff
Galium odoratum
moist, rich, well-drained

Spider Plant
Chlorophytum comosum
moist, well-drained, full sun

Pussy Toes
Antennariafull sun

moist, well-drained, part shade

Cotton Lavender
Santolina chamaecyparissus
moist, well-drained, full sun

Polk-a-dot PlantHypoestes
moist, well-drained, sun, cut back for best colour

Kew Euonymus
Euonymus F. ‘Kewensis’
moist, sun / shade

English Ivy
Hedera helix
moist, well-drained, sun / shade

Lily Turf
part shade, moist, well-drained

moist, well-drained, full sun

Sweet Alyssum
Lobularia maritima
moist, sun, annual.

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