Tutor your Topiary

Take a tip or two from topiary enthusiast Kathleen Halloran

| February/March 2004

The Pot Spot

A topiary is a plant trained to behave itself according to the gardener’s imagination and will. Whether your whim is a fanciful lollipop, heart, corkscrew, fantasy animal or strange geometric shape, there’s an herb that will give it to you, if you treat it right.

A container often is the best place for an herb destined for topiary. The rough-and-tumble outdoor environment may not be ideal for the amount of coddling a topiary demands, and unless your herb garden is a formal one, such a plant might not suit its garden style. After all, style is what the art of topiary is all about.

A standard is a type of topiary made from a woody herb with a single bare stem that grows straight up and balloons into a lollipop at the top. As the plant matures, the stem gets taller, and so does the ball at the top. A handsome plant with an elegant simplicity, a standard is a conversation piece, a fine sentry on the front porch or centerpiece on a table — and a great starting point for the would-be topiary sculptor.


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