Did you know even the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were pruning plants into decorative shapes? It is said that topiary is an art form that takes dedication and time as you will be shaping your plants for years and the upkeep is continual. But don’t be scared off just yet, I’ll show you it’s a lot less complicated and time-consuming than you thought.
There is something chic about adding life to a space with topiaries. They can elevate a basic, traditional interior into something special, and work really good in modern spaces as well by reinforcing symmetry and creating balance. One or two will do wonders to your function-focused kitchen too!
Traditionally, topiaries are made from plants like ivy, boxwood and myrtle, but they can be created from just about any woody perennial. Rosemary has a tendency to drape and grow into a shrub and is also ideal to be trimmed into a topiary sphere or an elongated pyramid. While training rosemary could take some time, it looks so elegant and provides herbs for your kitchen. Looks like we have a real win-win situation here!
Believe me, you want topiaries in your life. 🙂 Here’s how:
Plant a rooted rosemary cutting (instructions on propagating here and on potting them here), prune the side shoots to encourage vertical growth. Stake the plant snugly with ties, and let it grow in a sunny spot, giving it plenty of water. Turn the plant weekly so it receives even sunlight. When it has reached the desired height, trim off its main vertical shoot. This will stop its upward growth and encourage branching. Then, strip the bottom two-thirds of the plant of all its shoots, leaving the top one-third and its branches for shaping. Don’t forget to loosen ties as the trunk grows in diameter. Pinch off growing tips to maintain a full, dense top and encourage further branching.
My first mini rosemary trees turned one year old, and I planted new ones this year again. I prefer giving live flowers to go along gifts, and everyone absolutely adored these.
Another plant I’m planning on training is lavender, I’ll let you know how it goes. Also, feel free to ask me in the comments if you have any more questions!
Hey there new green thumbs! Hope things are looking good in your windowsills. By now the new additions to your home’s flora should show signs of growth. Isn’t it nice to watch them produce roots and leaves out of virtually nothing? Nature is indeed wonderful.
Brace yourselves, because we’ve arrived at a point where we need to get our hands a little dirty: it’s time to pot. Tools you’ll need include the pots and containers you decorated earlier, potting soil, bucket, newspaper, gloves and a trowel. You needn’t worry though, no degree in horticulture is necessary to carry on, not much to go wrong here.
Let’s get down to business! First things first, cover your work surface and collect all the necessary equipment around you. I know it’s obvious, but still… put your hand on your heart and tell me you never had to look for something in the middle of the process. I know I did. 🙂
That said, pour some soil in the bucket, it’s less messy to deposit to the pots that way than from a big bag. Fill the pots with soil, push down a little to compress and add some more. Arrange and separate your cuttings, cut lowest leaves from stems. You may plant each in separate pots, or create a container garden of them. If you decide on the latter, make sure to use a spacious container and leave plenty of room between the herbs.
Now what you do is simply make holes in the middle of the pots, gently put the lower 1/3 of the cuttings in it, cover with soil and push down lightly. Water them carefully but thoroughly, the little hollow at the root will make it easier. Label them with your shiny new herb markers and well, that’s basically it! Congratulations on your herb garden!
Caring for them from now on is really just providing a place with plenty of sunshine and watering regularly. The soil should be moist but your plants should not stand in water as that can cause rotting of the roots. No need for pesticides, the essential oils in these herbs will protect them from most known deseases. You will start using fresh spices in your kitchen sooner than you think!
Although it’s still grey and moist outside, spring is around the corner. Temperatures started slowly crawling up and it’s not pitch dark anymore when I make my morning coffee. Birds feel it too, they just can’t stop singing even on the rainiest, ugliest of days.
Don’t know about you, but this aprés Valentine’s end of February is usually the time when I get really fed up with the whole winter thing. Seriously, not even a steaming cup of mulled wine, my absolute cold-season favorite will cure spring fever.
I am desperate for the new and fresh, something green for a change and I’ve found a way to get a bit ahead of nature: it’s the perfect time to start your very own countertop herb garden. Better yet, it is fit for small spaces, a spot indoors with enough natural light will do just fine.
Don’t quite have a green-thumb? No worries! I’ve selected a few culinary herbs I have experience with, and I can say that they are as easy to handle as it gets. My essentials are mint, rosemary, sage, oregano, marjoram, tarragon and thyme. Very versatile, they can be used either fresh or dried, for seasoning food, making teas or coctails alike.
Starting your herbarium (collection of herbs) in your windowsill or on your sunny kitchen counter is easier than you think. Select the speciments you want. All the above mentioned herbs are perennial, meaning they don’t die after one season.
You can buy seeds and follow the planting instructions on the packaging. You can also cheat and buy the grown plants, but then you’ll miss out on the fun… Be careful though with herbs sold in the supermarket, because my experience is they tend to give up soon due to the poor conditions they are kept in. Better go to your local garden center, where you’ll get expert advice too.
Another rather inexpensive way to start your own herb garden is propagating by rooting from cuttings. Go ahead and ask someone who already has these plants, all of them multiply nicely. What you need to do is cut off young, healthy shoots of about 5-8 cm, strip off lower leaves and plant them in moist soil. I put my cuttings in a small cup of water first, and plant the shoots when they’ve produced tiny roots. Remember to keep them in a light place and water regularly.
Now we sit back, relax and wait 3-4 weeks for signs that our herbs are alive and well. Until then I will bring you cute ways to decorate the pots and containers you’re going to transfer the plants into.
I’d love to know how it’s going for you, so tell me about it in the comments below!