Q: I am interested in topiaries. Where do I buy the frames? How do I care for them? I would like a pair on either side of my front porch.
A: There are two kinds of topiary: those stuffed with moss and covered with vines and those serving as frames for a plant to grow through. In my experience, the latter is easiest for a beginner to manage. I have a chickenwire goose sitting in a garden bed, under which I planted three erect rosemary plants. As the rosemary grew upwards, I clipped and trained it to follow the wire “skin” of the form. Since the rosemary has roots in the earth, it grows happily, needing only an occasional feeding. You could try something similar in pots on your porch.
If you choose to use a stuffed form, you’ll have to water it frequently and worry about winter damage. Small-leaved English ivy and creeping fig are commonly used for these type topiaries. There are many vendors of topiary supplies on the Internet. The folks at www.etopiary.com offer a wide selection and helpful tips.