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Old 03-20-2012, 11:49 PM   #1
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English Ivy Topiary


Could anyone provide me with some basic instruction on how to recreate this look with English ivy? Thanks.


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Old 03-21-2012, 12:12 AM   #2
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English Ivy Topiary


Just Google it, thousands of sites come up.

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Old 03-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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English Ivy Topiary


I've searched and searched, but the only forms I can find are for synthetic plants. I want something I can actually grow the ivy on.
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:40 PM   #4
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English Ivy Topiary


Used to be head designer for a company specializing in these sorts of things, hanging baskets, and container plantings. Wire frames, spanghum moss and potting soil inside will do the trick. You can buy the wire frames pre-made in all kinds of shapes, spirals and so forth or make them yourself out of wire mesh. Search for topiary frames or something.

Stuff the frames with moss and fill with potting soil. Plant through the moss on all surfaces of the balls.

Your challenge is going to be keeping things wet. Think about fitting each topiary with drip irrigation and emitters and you will not have to worry about watering the individual balls.

Ivy, in time, will grow to cover just wire frames but creating a planting environment in each "unit" one will be faster.

Depending on your climate, you may have to approach this as an annual project. Ivy is not expensive though. Do consider other planting materials as well.

We sold some outrageously expensive ivy candelabras for like $350 that cost us $20 to make. Have fun with the shapes you come up with.

Last edited by user1007; 03-25-2012 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:54 PM   #5
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English Ivy Topiary


Picked these up at an antique store today.



Just to clarify, do most topiary designers plant in each individual ball? Also, if I decided just to grow from the pot and let it come up over time, would I just guide it up the rod and cut the leaves of the vines on the bare rod? Thanks.
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:14 PM   #6
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English Ivy Topiary


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Originally Posted by smokey847 View Post

Just to clarify, do most topiary designers plant in each individual ball? Also, if I decided just to grow from the pot and let it come up over time, would I just guide it up the rod and cut the leaves of the vines on the bare rod? Thanks.
Those look like great frames.

To answer your question. Growing vines from the base will take time but if you want to be a purist, it is the way to go. If you plan to have the topiaries in a harsh climate you will lose part of the plant to freezing each year. Even with aggressive ivy it will take time.

If you do what we did at Victoria Gardens and plant in each topiary shape and perhaps each year? You will have to find a way to water and feed each ball. I hid drip tubing and emitters nobody noticed.

Really up to you how authentic you want to be I guess. And how fast you want this to happen and provide "the look". You could take a hybrid approach too and plant the real climbing vines and each ball for the time being.

You might want to update your profile so we have a general idea where you and your plants live. It is hard to know how to help you with plants not knowing your climate.

Last edited by user1007; 04-04-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:45 PM   #7
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English Ivy Topiary


Thanks, sdsester, for all the advice. I updated my profile--I am in Nashville, TN. Our winters usually are not too harsh. I will probably go the hybrid approach you mentioned, as we have a wedding on our lawn coming up that it may need to look nice for. With that said, once the ivy in the base is long enough to cover the balls, would I need moss? Also, how many ivy plants would you put in the base?

And just out of curiosity as well, what sets a good frame apart from a mediocre one? These look like they have a history to them and am just curious. Thanks!
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:54 PM   #8
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English Ivy Topiary


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Originally Posted by smokey847 View Post
Thanks, sdsester, for all the advice. I updated my profile--I am in Nashville, TN. Our winters usually are not too harsh. I will probably go the hybrid approach you mentioned, as we have a wedding on our lawn coming up that it may need to look nice for. With that said, once the ivy in the base is long enough to cover the balls, would I need moss? Also, how many ivy plants would you put in the base?

And just out of curiosity as well, what sets a good frame apart from a mediocre one? These look like they have a history to them and am just curious. Thanks!
If you plant in the ball frames, you will need something to hold the potting soil in place and spanghum moss is as easy to with as anything. I suppose you could use plastic too but it will show until the plants establish.

How many plants you put in will depend somewhat on the varieties you choose, the size of the base you have in mind and whether you are putting in other plants. You do not want to go over board but ask your nursery or check the plant labels on the flats you buy. You can plant a little closer than you would in the yard. Just remember the watering and feeding needs. And do think about running some drip emitters. Those balls can dry out quickly.

Make sure to wrap and train the stems going up to make the central structure. You do not want too many cutting into each other.

As for what makes a good structure you want to be sure it is strong enough to hold the moss and soil and not come apart on you when you are planning or thinning and pruning later. You want the central structure strong enough to support everything without bending on you. Yours look fine. A galvanized or rust proofed structure would be a good idea.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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English Ivy Topiary


Just painted them with a rust-proof primer and paint. They look great--such a steal at $50 for the pair. I'm now posed with the challenge of setting them in my urns. Attached is a picture of the concrete urns. Any ideas on getting these to stay in place without concrete?

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Old 04-12-2012, 09:48 PM   #10
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English Ivy Topiary


Got them all set up in ready, but just have a couple of more questions for the expert. How much of the ivy should I plant in the pot? I'm going to go the purist route and just let it grow. So with that said, it is necessary I put anything in the balls? Also, do I just trim the leaves on the ivy on the pole part to get the look? And how tightly should I wrap it around the pole?
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:01 AM   #11
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English Ivy Topiary


No need to put anything into the balls.

I would use a little six pack per container. Make sure you put a couple of plants near the pole and start training up the poll right away. You will need some sort of plastic ties or plastic plant tape to start but eventually the tendrils in the ivy will grip. Now is the time to start a spiral pattern if you want using one or more stems.

Yes, you will want to trim off the leaves on the pole stems at some point as you train them. You may want to wait until the stems reach the first ball though and start spreading out there.
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:27 PM   #12
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English Ivy Topiary


Now, several months later, the ivy is covering the first ball and beginning to approach the second ball. I have been twirling ivy long enough to reach the first ball around the pole and then twisting it around the ball. I assume this is proper? I am also assuming that the ball will naturally fill in? I believe I am doing things correctly but just need some more general advice now that it is beginning to cover the balls. Please advise. Thanks!

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Old 08-26-2012, 05:07 PM   #13
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English Ivy Topiary


Looks great so far. Don't be afraid to thin out the balls once in awhile as the ivy starts to get really woody stems.

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