• Suitable container for base, such as a clay or terra-cotta pot
•1 brick floral foam, divided Fine gravel
• Bathroom plunger, large or small
• Generous handful sheet moss (1 bag is ample)
• Generous handful Spanish moss (1 bag is ample)
• 5 to 6 greenery pins
• 2 medium rubber bands
• Vine such as ivy or grape vine, enough to wind around handle
• 15 to 20 cuttings of herbs such as rosemary or lavender
• 12 to 15 flowers such as daisies or roses
1. Wedge floral foam into the container and pack gravel around it to add stability.
2. Insert the plunger handle into the center of the foam. Push down firmly. (If the handle is too tall to be in scale with the container, cut off a section. In the example pictured here, I cut off 3 inches.)
3. Dampen the sheet moss and use it to cover the foam in the container. Secure it with the greenery pins.
4. Place one-quarter of the foam in the cup of the plunger.
5. Dampen the Spanish moss and let sit for about 30 minutes or until it is pliable.
6. Take clumps of Spanish moss and cover the rubber cup and the foam inside it completely. Secure the moss with rubber bands placed on opposite sides and stretched up and over the top.
7. Moisten the floral foam in the container, which is now covered with the moss. Stick the lower end of the vine into the foam and wind the rest loosely up the plunger handle. You may secure it with string or wire if it slips.
8. Moisten the foam in the plunger cup and begin arranging flowers and herbs in it. Start with base material such as rosemary or lavender and let some droop over the edge. Fill it in but don’t pack it; keep it loose. Then intersperse with flowers (roses or daisies work well) throughout. Don’t push the stems too far into the foam; you want the flowers to show through the herbs. Finish the arrangement with baby’s-breath or statice. Adding wispy or spiky herbs such as heather or Scotch broom makes the topiary less globular and formal and gives it a more flowing look. Hens- and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) may be secured with a wire pick on top of the moss in the pot or interspersed throughout the topiary. Cones, berries, and dried peppers also add interest. Enjoy!
Topiaries for all Seasons
Any suitable combination of flowers and foliage from the garden in any season may be used for topiaries. Here are a few examples.
Spring: Foliage of lavender, rosemary, sage, boxwood; daffodils, forsythia, pussy willow
Summer: Basil, tarragon, oregano, chive blossoms, dill, fennel, garlic chives, upright thymes in bloom; old-fashioned roses, fresh or dried blue salvia flowers.
Autumn: Foliage of golden sage, golden marjoram; flowers of garlic chives, anise hyssop, golden yarrow; globe amaranth, strawflowers; spiky wheat stalks and broom corn.
Christmas: Herbs of Advent such as boxwood, rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme; dried purple statice, baby’s-breath, purple and pink globe amaranth. (Add fine purple and pink ribbons and let the ends cascade down the plunger handle.)
Don Haynie offers workshops on how to make topiaries and other herbal crafts at his Buffalo Springs Herb Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. For information, call (540) 348-1083.
Click here for the original article, Plunge Right in with Topiaries.