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There is a growing fashion for topiary these days and you can buy ready-clipped shrubs in any shape, from simple sphere and cones to any imaginable shape. Traditional topiary is usually created using very slow-growing plants. That is why you need a lot of patience if you want to create your own topiary.

Make an ivy standard

But there is always a short way. You can create a mock-topiary using a quick-growing evergreen climber such as small-leaved ivy, trained over a wire frame. For this project you will need: a pot, loam-based soil mix, a broom handle or cane, a 25 cm wire hanging basket, ivy plants, wire, nails and split rings.

To create an ivy standard you need to choose an ivy that has pliable stems, such as Hedera maroccana Spanish Canary. Insert a broom handle or cane into a pot filled with loam-based compost and place the plants, at least 3 pieces, at even intervals around the pot base.

Working from bottom to top, carefully wrap the stems around the broom handle or cane, tying the stems together with twists or split rings at regular intervals, to create a braided effect around the cane. As you get higher up the broom handle or cane, take care to check that the stems cross each time in a straight line above the previous crossed stems and that the regular spacing is maintained throughout.

Take a 25 cm wire hanging basket and place it upside down on top of the broom handle or cane and fix it securely in place with staples, wire or nails so that the weight of the plant won’t dislodge it. Wind the tops of the shoots through the wire basket and snip off all the lower leaves using scissors.

As the ivy continues to grow, train the shoots through the basket, covering the frame completely. This way you will have your own topiary made in no time.

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