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Overwintering Rosemary Topiaries

Rosemary Topiary

After selling topiaries at my shows for a number of years I’ve learned something… people are nervous about purchasing Rosemary plants for indoor use. And I’ve also learned… there is no reason to be! With a south facing exposure and a little attention you can have fresh rosemary on your windowsill all year long even in colder growing zones. I kid you not. It’s -12 wind chill here today. Eegads.

Shown above is one of a pair of rosemary standards that I brought home after the Devon Horse Show in May of 2013. The pair spent the summer planted in the potager providing garden structure as well as culinary deliciousness. This photo was taken soon after they were dug and potted up to bring indoors for the winter. I would recommend polyfoam or ceramic containers… terra cotta drys out much too quickly in a heated environment.

I LOVE the shape of these filled-out standards! They are gorgeous on either side of the fireplace. Generally they are kept in a south facing window with lots of natural light.

So, after some trial and error and a little “dried” rosemary over the years- here is my secret to overwintering Rosemary topiary.

  • Wait.
  • Soak with warm water.
  • Soak again.
  • Drain thoroughly.
  • Full sun.

Repeat.

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I know, right!? Wait to water them until their new growth starts to show signs of wilting. They are a Mediterranean herb and the soil will need to dry out but they WILL give you a sign of when to water. When you perceive the new growth start to droop take them and soak them with WARM water. They need to be watered deeply, twice, drained and then given full sun.

I will admit- Rosemary is not terribly forgiving and you DO have to pay attention to them. But it is so worth it. The only time that I have ever killed (gasp!) a plant (I think) was when I put it in a place that I was not constantly buzzing in and out of. They all tell you when they are ready to be watered.

RIP my sweet bonzi ficus- though you looked so Zen by the bath tub I could not support your daily watering needs. If only you could have fit on the window sill in the kitchen- because we all know those dishes are a never-ending daily nirvana.

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Do you have a south facing window in a place that you frequent? A perfect place for a Rosemary topiary! Looking for a yummy recipe to put those trimmings to use? Look no further! Tuscan Herb Seasoning one of my FAVORITE ways to use fresh Rosemary- perfect for meats and soups.

Do you have a favorite recipe that includes fresh Rosemary? Please share!

 




New Birthday Card Design

work of art cards

This little guy has been hanging around the studio for awhile. I’m so happy that he’s ready to start sending out those birthday greetings. The card reads: Happy Birthday   inside:  to a real work of art.   Hope your day is a masterpiece!

To order the “Work of Art” design or other charming topiary themed birthday cards click here.




Oooh La La… Paris Themed Cups

What a fabulous find! Could these cups be more perfect to pot a topiary in? As I have mentioned before, the theme for the 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show this year is “Springtime in Paris”. Little drawings of Paris landmarks surround the cup featuring a larger sketch of the Eiffel Tower!

I will have a limited number of these cups potted with angel vine topiaries for the show. If you will be attending and would like to pre-order please let me know. They will be $38.00. I think I have a total of 18 cups.  I will have other topiaries as well (rosemary, euonymus and hopefully myrtle)  but I am just crazy about the way these little sweeties turned out.

I am really liking the way things are coming together for the show. It’s fun to have a theme to work with. Now… back to work! Happy Fabulous Find Friday!  Michelle  : )




The Columbus Topiary Garden

Oh my, what an amazing amount of ground we covered over the past week. From Lake Ontario in New York State to the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana.

22 hours in the car one-way… I thought I would be a blogging fool.  Unfortunately, I needed the stars to align and pigs to fly before I could “write” in the car. Oh well. While surfing the web via my laptop in the car (Have I mentioned that I am married to the most amazing IT guy not to mention he’s also a charming and handsome farmer? What more can a girl ask for!)… ok. Back to the story.

While driving through Ohio I was reminded by RoadsideAmerica.com of the unusual topiary garden on the grounds of the Old Deaf School in downtown Columbus. It was listed in their Columbus attractions as Topiary French People. Well, I’ve seen that garden over the years in magazines and I couldn’t wait to see it in person.  I love that Farmboy and the kids are always up for a detour.

This amazing garden was created by Columbus sculptor James T. Mason to mimic the famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon On The Ile De La Grande Jatte” (1884-6) by French Impressionist painter Georges Seurat.  Farmboy was completely enchanted. The Bean yelled out while running in and out of the figures “It’s like we’re in the painting!”. What a treat and yes, those are my children running around Downtown Columbus in their pajamas. Please don’t call the Board of Parenting Fashion Police. What can I say, we left the house at 4 in the morning… at least they are wearing shoes.

Our timing seemed perfect to view the garden… almost planned. The sun was low in the sky, casting long shadows from the figures and accentuating the detail in their forms. It really was enchanting and I will always delight in the memory of seeing the kids running around the figures as if in a strange shrubby Other World.




Maurice and Geraldine

Introducing… Maurice and Geraldine- my boxwood topiary ducks. Shown below is their before and after pictures. The before picture was taken in the spring of this past year.  The after photo was taken just last week after their late summer trim.

Maurice is a bit sparse in the head and neck due to a teensie bit of winter kill. He lost his head last year and it’s slowly growing back in. Topiary challenges my patience. One must wait and be hopeful, trusting in the plants’ ability to fill in and reach towards the sun. Thankfully I have so many other things vying for my attention that I can just walk away and leave the growing to him.

My family lived in Dallas, TX until I was 4 yrs old. I had a lovely babysitter named Joy and she had two gigantic white ducks in her backyard named… you’ll never guess- Maurice and Geraldine. This is my little homage to them.

Maurice and Geraldine have their own pond that the dogs, Oliver and Gracie, think is their personal water dish. I don’t mind. The rain continually keeps it full. Do you have a Maurice and Geraldine or a Rocco and Henrietta– a favorite pet or animal that needs a presence around your home? Any chance that you have a boxwood or yew that you’d like to experiment with? Why not add a little whimsy to your landscape?

Shown above is a photo of a Korean boxwood that I have been growing right outside the entrance to the studio. I keep asking myself “what does it want to be?”  Strangely I hear “a teapot” but I’m trying to ignore that since I’m really not a teapot kinda gal… not that I don’t like my tea, mind you. I haven’t decided. But I do know that I’m getting ready to sculpt it into something… so stay tuned. What does it say to you? What kind of topiary do you think it wants to be?

For more information on growing boxwood check out the American Boxwood Society.




Camel topiaries?

But, of course! I have just completed an order of notecards, linen guest towels, sachets and beautiful pillows for the Newport Restoration Foundation featuring what else but three topiary camels.  I am very fortunate to be able to work with some wonderful organizations like the Restoration Foundation.

I was approached to do a design featuring the topiary camels (shown at top) on Doris Duke’s estate Rough Point in Newport, Rhode Island. The topiaries appear to be iron frames planted with soil, moss and various succulents.  They are replanted annually and “dressed” according to the theme of the awards presentation at Rough Point. They have even been known to wear pearls!

Shown above is a completed pillow and the coordinating notecards available for purchase through the Restoration Foundation. The accompanying information provided by the organization reads: The purchase of the items mentioned above will support preservation efforts organized by grants through the Newport Restoration Foundation in Newport, R.I. Along with funds raised at the annual Doris Duke Historic Preservation Awards celebration, this income assists community renewal projects such as brick and mortar restorations, garden revitalizations and planning seminars. Ms Duke’s adored camels, which lived at Rough Point, her home in Newport, have been reproduced in topiary form on the property. Each year they are appropriately accessorized for the awards presentation at Rough Point.

For more information on the Newport Restoration Foundation founded by Doris Duke please visit their website newportrestoration.org




Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wishing you a little luck of the Irish today! Don’t forget to wear some green and for all things Ireland… stop in an visit my friends Cory and Liam at irishfireside.com. For more charming Celtic and Irish designs on stationery, fine linens and fine art prints- go to michellemasters.com.




Topiaries at the Philadelphia Flower Show

There are many topiaries of note at the Philadelphia Flower Show. A number of them I have seen year after year here in competition. After seeing the myrtle entries it has inspired me to try myrtle as an indoor topiary specimen. I love the fine leaves and the tightness of form that it creates. Hope you enjoy seeing some of this years’ entries! Stop back by for highlights of the display gardens… coming soon.




Dinosaur Topiaries

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On a recent trip to NYC we found a pair of enormous dinosaur topiaries outside of the American Museum of Natural History. They were very festive holding Christmas wreaths and made a lovely sculptural statement. I believe Topiary Joe created these big guys.

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If you could have any topiary created in your yard/landscape what would it be?




Rocco and Henrietta

Henrietta-Hen-Topiary

Hmmm. What does this boxwood want to be? A chicken. That is what I heard while browsing the nursery. It spoke to me. My kids got a big kick out of telling their cousins that “Momma heard a plant talk to her”. The plant wanted to be a chicken. “Henrietta the Hen”came out of the little boxwood. Soon after her mate Rocco the Rooster found his way out of another boxwood. They greet our visitors at the start of the front walkway.

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There are many farm animals that I would love to have… the whole kit and kaboodle. Chickens, geese, SHEEP, goats, calves are on my list. Oh, I forgot ducks. I am currently at my peak of mouths to feed on this farm between the kids, horses, cats and dogs. Therefore I have decided to create in topiary all of the farm animals that I would like to have. This way I will hopefully not go over the edge of insanity… I’ll just give it alittle trim.

Just imagine two topiary sheep grazing on the meadow with a third looking up to see who is coming up the driveway… a yew giraffe nibbling on apples trees in a orchard. Yikes. I’m on to zoo animals now. Anyway… you get the picture. I’ve got alot of work to do. Either way.




ABOUT

Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.

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