In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
November, 2013
Regional Report

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Making your own boxwood topiary is great holiday fun.

Craft a Holiday Topiary

Holiday cheer is in our backyards, parks, fields, neighborhoods, and around craft tables. Gather friends, boxwood branches, small pine cones, wispy milkweed seeds and pods, dried hydrangea flowers, moss, baby's breath, holly berry clusters -- whatever catches your eye on a late autumn walk.

Round up festive ribbons, chestnuts, cranberries, silver and gold braiding, craft wire, scissors, hand pruner, glue gun, dangling turkeys/angels/pilgrims, and other doodads. Find some medium-sized terracotta clay flower pots or low decorative containers. Then unleash your imagination!

To help you get your creative juices flowing, here's how to make an easy boxwood topiary. First, gather bunches of fresh-cut boxwood sprigs pruned 5 to 6 inches long with stems cut diagonally so as to easily pierce the floral foam. Strip off the lower leaves to leave about an inch and a half bare stem.

Then take a block of wettable floral foam (Oasis) and carefully shape it into a pyramidal tree shape by carving the top of the block into a peak. Next, use waterproof floral tape to hold the Oasis in a clay flower pot. Soak the foam until it's saturated with water by placing the pot and foam in a sink or a bucket.

At the tip-top center, insert a full-looking, 3-inch boxwood tip vertically -- like an angel atop the holiday tree. At the base above the pot rim, inserted a ruff of 5- to 6-inch boxwood tips horizontally. That makes an imaginary tree outline to fill in from top to bottom, using 3- to 4-inch stems around the top, then 5-inch stems mid-way. Add 6-inch stems to finish the base. Rotate the pot around several times, adding tips to keep the topiary symmetrical.

For decorating, "less is more." Using just a few items is tasteful, makes the piece more interesting, and allows you to appreciate the topiary's dark green background.

Why not make a holiday boxwood "tree" trio -- small, medium, large sizes -- to display? Or decorate the trees with dried leaves and flowers and bittersweet berries to grace the Thanksgiving dinner table. This is a fun project for to do with your kids or grandkids, too!


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