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Low-maintenance topiary

Watering is all you’ll have to do once this is made

I have always loved the look of formal gardens but they are far too much work to maintain, so I designed a pair of “lollypops” to sit in formal urns on either side of my front door. You could call this low-maintenance topiary art.


• 3 wire clothes hangers

• Dried grape vines, willow branches or ivy vines

• Live ivy vines — at least 3 feet long

• Wire — any scraps that are at least 1 foot long (I used house wire left over from a renovation)

• Round garden stake long enough to reach top of the ball and also touch bottom of planter

• Metal snips

• Pliers

• Planter

• Adequate amount of soil to anchor project and give it proper proportion


Use the pliers to bend the hanger hook straight. Pull and bend the main part of the hanger creating as close to a circle as you can. Play with this for a while to make the circle as perfect as possible. Don’t worry if it’s not quite perfect as the vines will slowly cover any imperfections. Repeat the process with all three hangers and then gather the straightened hooks together like a bouquet, wrapping them around the garden stake. Use the pliers to twist extra wire tightly around the hanger stems and the stake to secure them together. Poke the stake with the “lollipop” into the middle of the planter and spread the round hoops to create a ball. Wrap the dried vines around the ball frame, being careful to fill in the gaps between the vines so the live vines will have something to grow over and through. Plant live ivy around the stem and wrap the tendrils in and around the wire ball. Trim the leaves off the area that runs along the stem so it will look like a tree trunk. (If your ivy is very long you can twist the “lollipop” in a clockwise direction to produce a twisted trunk, which is very attractive.) As the ivy grows, weave the new tendrils in and out of the cage. To make the ball more dense, simply trim off any new growth to force the plant to put out more shoots. Plant some shorter ivy to trail down from the urn, adding to if from time to time to produce as dramatic an effect as possible.

Now sit back and accept the compliments on the beautiful topiary urns. Don’t forget, of course, to regularly water the soil to keep the live ivy fresh, growing and vibrant green!

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