How to make a topiary chicken

Overview

Topiary in the garden needn't be expensive. You can easily grow and train your own plant sculpture from scratch. The process takes a few years, but you'll have all the satisfaction of seeing your creation take shape, at a fraction of the price of buying one ready made.

For quick results, train a climber such as ivy around a topiary frame. You can even make your own frame from wire netting.


How to do it

Planting the ivy

1

Make sure each ivy plant has plenty of long and leafy trailing stems, with no bald patches or brown leaves. Add drainage material, such as crocks, to the base of a large terracotta pot, and some loam-based compost. Then position the plants evenly round the edges.


Placing the topiary frame over the pot

2

Sit your topiary frame over the top of the ivy plants. if it's a standing bird or animal shape, try to create just one 'leg' at the base. Spread out the long trailing stems through the centre of the frame so they grow to fill out the shape.


Tying the ivy into the frame

3

Weave the ivy through and over the wire netting to cover it evenly with foliage. Clip back any sideshoots and over-long stems to encourage the plants to branch out and thicken up.


Topiary chicken

4

Place your topiary sculpture in a prime site where you can admire your handiwork. Water well and regularly trim and tie in shoots.




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