Topiaries are shrubs of various sizes and heights that have been clipped and cut into ornamental shapes and designs. A horticultural art form, topiaries first made their appearance in ancient Rome. Topiaries were natural décor found in the gardens of the wealthy and designed and maintained by hired help to represent their social status and success.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to be a rich Roman aristocrat to appreciate the topiary and incorporate these aesthetic embellishments into your property. And you don’t have to hire a full-time gardener to design and maintain the shape of the topiary. You can make your own with some simple instruction and a little bit of your time.
However, if you would rather not have to deal with any maintenance once your lovely topiary is finished, artificial topiaries provide all of the beauty without any of the constant trimming and cutting of the real deal.
We have provided for you an easy, step-by-step guide for creating your very own spiral topiary that can be enjoyed inside or outside your home, on either side of the front or side door, inside of an entry way in a foyer, resting on a platform or in an urn, and anywhere else inside or outside your home that can use some color, texture, and natural beauty.
DIY Spiral Topiary
Follow the below steps and illustrations to make a spiral topiary for outdoor gardening. Substitute the conifer with artificial cedar or cypress picks for an indoor topiary display.
Conifers (pine trees) are plants that bear cones, and they come in all shapes and sizes. They’re not very picky about their soil, and they can grow almost anywhere in the country. Some people plant conifers and let them grow as naturally. However, with a little artistic touch you can turn a natural looking conifer into a beautiful spiral topiary.
- dwarf Alberta spruce or conifer of your choice
- flagging ribbon or tape
- grass shears
- pruning shears
Step 1: Make a template
Attach the ribbon to the top of the tree, and wind it around the tree like a candy cane stripe to be your guide. With the grass shears, follow the spiral of the ribbon and cut a line into the tree. Remove the ribbon, and you should have a clearly visible template for your spiral.
Step 2: Cut the spiral
Following the template, prune away the foliage, right down to the trunk. The spiral should reveal the trunk from top to bottom. Don’t worry about harming the tree. The dwarf Alberta spruce is a very tough tree and takes quite well to shearing. You can choose to cut the spiral on an steep angle or you can choose to cut it on a flatter plane.
Step 3: Finishing touches
Trim off about one-half inch of the outer growth to round out your spiral nicely. Use your grass shears for the finishing touches.
To keep the tree at the same height, simply cut off the top. Or if you’d like a taller tree, allow the top to continue growing for another year or two, and continue the spiral. To keep your topiary spiral in shape, using the grass shears trim your spiral topiary at the beginning of summer, as the new growth for the season is hardening off.
Caring for the Dwarf Alberta Spruce Topiary
Dwarf Alberta spruces need minimal pruning to maintain their shape, making them perfect for topiary designs. When watering your plant, you will want to provide a gentle soaking with a slow, steady stream of water or to use a soaker hose to dampen the entire depth of the plant roots. Unless rains provide adequate moisture, you will want to continue watering a new spruce until the temperatures cool down for the winter season. Once your spruce is established, it will be pretty drought tolerant and won’t need such frequent watering and care.
To make your life even easier, cut out the maintenance altogether and choose an artificial cedar or cypress tree for your topiary project and enjoy your design skills all year round. You can take your topiary outside for the warmer months, and inside during the colder months. We hope you enjoy your new piece of garden art!
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