Espalier Heart

Q: Here’s an idle question. Is it possible to have even so much as a benign relationship with thorny elaeagnus?

I love the scent of the flowers, but that pleasure is more than offset by the tediously unpleasant yearly maintenance on my 25-plant hedge put in by the previous owner.

A: As the picture below attests, I have a *love* relationship with this elaeagnus growing next to the wall at the edge of my patio. I sketched the outline with chalk and then drilled 1/4″ holes in the mortar. Into the holes I put lead anchors and twisted a screw eye into each anchor.

I ran stiff wire through the screw eyes, resulting in a heart-shaped outline. I planted elaeagnus at the base and trained the resulting branches around the wire I installed initially.

And no, my wife was not the model for the ceramic bust, which I added later..