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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Tips on French Style Topiaries

Sunday, May 10, 2015


You know the French are masters with sculpted gardens and plants, 
and topiaries appear throughout their personal gardens, 
in village parks, and along side their highways. 
Most anyone can identify a lonely stretch of a narrow straight highway 
flanked on either side with sculpted trees as a French roadway. 
There is usually a man on a bicycle carrying baguettes 
which probably helps identify the road as being in France.  

One of the easiest and fastest ways for me to add some French style
to my house is to add one or more fresh live topiaries. 
Buy it, bring it home, set in a pretty pot, and water. 
No sewing, no crafting, and not much money. 
Pretty much a somewhat laissez-faire approach to decorating. 
Another French way of doing things. 
Make it look easy even though there really is some effort required.

I've included a summary of

10 Tips for Growing a Topiary 

that will help growing topiaries much easier. 


To Read More...
ten-tips-to-grow-french-topiaries

Here is the pine chest once again 
that is home to an ever-changing landscape of botanicals. 

Count the topiaries in this space. 

T H R E E 
topiaries

Two of the topiaries are single-ball preserved boxwoods that are not new, 
but the third topiary, the two-balled fresh live one, is new this spring. 

Just this week, there had been a live lavender plant in this spot 
that is now transplanted outside.
Before that, there had been a white foxglove that is also now outside.
All of these are French-inspired botanical touches, but for me,
topiaries convey the most French look.


things-to-look-for-when-buying-topiaries

A few things that I look for in a live topiary are 

1.  New growth on all of the balls to insure the plant is vigorous 
2.  A sturdy main trunk that is "plumb" when viewed from all sides 
3.  Balls on the same plant are approximately the same size 
4.  Matching sizes and shapes for topiaries that will be used in symmetry 
(at each end of a mantle, or flanking French doors, or on matching windowsills) 
5.  A plant variety that tolerates both indoor and outdoor locations 

Pruning can correct uneven growth to make the balls uniform. 
Just make sure the general sizes and shapes are fairly uniform to begin with. 
The new plant above needs a little pruning, but that is a fun and easy chore. 


favorite-plants-as-topiaries-ivy-rosemary-lavender-myrtle

Some of my favorite plant varieties for topiaries are 
ivy, boxwood, rosemary, lavender, and eugenia myrtle. 

Rosemary and lavender are so beautiful, but do not live long at my house. 
I tend to use them for Christmas knowing they will only last a few weeks. 
My best luck is with the non-blooming plants and 
even then, have a hard time keeping them alive for long periods of time.  

Last year I had pretty good luck with eugenia myrtle
in the master bath and on the garden shed deck.

Until I left them outside during the winter, and they were killed.

I failed to realize they were eugenia myrtle, not boxwood, and, as such, 
were a tropical plant that needed protection from freezing. 


topiaries-live-indoors-and-outdoors

Since I know the topiaries will probably not live for years, 
I get very excited to find healthy topiaries at a great price. 
I found tabletop eugenia myrtle at Walmart that cost less than $15 each 
and bought one for the pine chest and one for the kitchen highchair.  

This year these will overwinter in a sheltered place. 


tips-for-keeping-myrtle-topiaries

These eugenia myrtle really look a lot like boxwood, but 
can be grown indoors year-round as well as 
in containers outdoors during the summer. 

The plant tag gave these helpful hints for keeping them healthy. 

1.  Part Sun:  3-6 hours of daily sun 
2.  Water when the top one inch of soil is dry 
3.  Feed every 2 weeks with an all-purpose liquid plant food 
4.  Containers should have good drainage 
5.  Rotate often for equal light distribution

I left the plants in the original plastic pots and placed small 
plastic saucers inside the ceramic containers to catch the water drainage. 

One of the causes for ivies and other indoor plants to die is spider mites. 
Washing plants with soapy water about once a month helps prevent spider mites. 


french-style-two-ball-myrtle-topiary

The ever-changing pine chest landscape may very well 
keep this topiary all summer or longer.  
I like the FRENCH look it gives. 

Here is my list of 10 tips for growing a topiary. 
Clicking on the photo should enlarge it, and 
printing it on letter-size paper will keep the tips handy. 
Save the 10 Tips on Pinterest for future reference. 
free-printable-ten-tips-for-growing-topiaries
graphics by The Graphics Fairy
Now I'm thinking perhaps I should add some green moss 
in the top of the potted topiary to dress up how it looks. 

Gardening is never ending.... outside and in. 
And neither is decorating... :) 

Do you have a favorite topiary plant? 
Do you have any tips for how to care for them? 
~~~~❦~~~~
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11 comments:

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh I wish I could keep a topiary as such. I tried it once and failed! I need to study your tips and maybe try it again because this is such a French look!

Happy Mother's Day, Judith! Anita

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Judith,
Merci for the time you spent in putting together a very helpful post. I've printed out your tips and will follow them.
xx,
Vera

Christina Paul said...

Wonderful post- I just adore the look of topiaries but haven't had great luck with them- will be saving these tips!

Art and Sand said...

Now you have me wanting to rush out to buy some topiaries.

I pinned your post so I will find it when I need help in caring for them.

Pondside said...

I was looking at a Rosemary topiary just the other day and passed it by, thinking that it would be too hard for me to keep. I think I should go back to get it, as you have made it sound like something I could manage!

Benita Roberts said...

Judith, your topiaries are absolutely gorgeous! You make it look so easy to keep plants alive and they look so beautiful in your home!

Maria Elena said...

Love, love your topiaries! They look gorgeous in your home! xxx Maria

Liz@ Infuse With Liz said...

Topiaries are wonderful but I've never tried a live one. I know I'd try to prune it too much! I'll study the advice some more and maybe I'll get the courage to try one!

Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home said...

They are so pretty Judith! Great tips too. Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
Blessings,
Cindy

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Great tips Judith...I love topiaries!

Raymond Quinn said...

Those are such wonderful tips about growing topiary. Those would totally be helpful for those who wish to keep topiary at their own homes. I think they aren't just great inside the house, but also outside. In any way, thanks for sharing that! All the best to you!


Raymond Quinn @ River Oaks Plant House