Plunge Right in with Topiaries

Make a wedding topiary

| June/July 1999

• Make a wedding Topiary 

Would you believe a guardian angel came to Don Haynie riding a plumber’s helper? The story behind this innovation is as much fun as making the topiary itself.

Back when I had a floral business in eastern Virginia, a bride insisted upon herbal topiaries for the church and for all the tables at the reception. I’d always made topiaries by tying a plug of floral foam to the top of a stick stuck in a pot and poking sprigs of herbs into the foam. That was OK for a day, but this bride also wanted to display her topiaries the night before and then give them away as gifts. I could see all sorts of problems: I didn’t know how we would keep them watered, I was afraid they wouldn’t last, and I knew that the arrangements would slide right down the stick if they were moved around too much. This dilemma actually kept me up at night.

Then one night, I awoke from a dream in which my guardian angel was flying around on a bathroom plunger like a witch on her broomstick. I got up and jotted down the idea that had come to me—to stick a plunger upside down in floral foam and create the topiary arrangement inside the rubber suction cup.

The next day, I went to the hardware store. I had never bought a plunger before, and I was kind of embarrassed when I had to ask the young woman at the front counter where they were. There were only about three in the bin, so I asked the elderly ­gentlemen who was ­taking inventory if I could get thirty plungers. He didn’t even raise an eyebrow. While he was in the back, I ­spotted little baby plungers that would work perfectly for making ­topiaries to put on the smaller tables. “Oh, how cute,” I said as the man emerged from the back room. “I suppose you want those, too,” he said. I assured him that I did, and when I took all those plungers to the cash register, the clerk said, “You know, you can use these more than one time.”

Plungers make excellent herbal ­topia­ries that keep for days. If you’re planning your own event, it’s worth any embarrassment you may experience at the hardware store when buying in quantity.

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