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Cheap Topiary Frames

Cheap Wire Topiary FramesTopiaries have always fascinated me and I've wanted to get involved in the art of topiary but I was limited by two things. My first limitation came from the fact that when I first became interested in them I was in college and inside of an apartment there wasn't much room for a dinosaur shaped evergreen. The second thing that hampered my interest in them was the fact that topiary frames are very expensive.

Then one day I came across The Complete Book of Topiary and it changed my ideas of what topiaries were and opened up many possibilities. The Complete Book of Topiary by Barbara Gallup & Deborah Reich has to be my favorite book on the subject of creating topiaries. It does a good job of covering the history and lore of the art and provides great indoor and outdoor gardening projects that anyone can follow along. If you're bored with your houseplant collection or want a unique way to display your houseplants borrow this book from your local library and turn your houseplants into tabletop topiaries. Creating some of the topiary frames in the book would be a good way of passing the upcoming winter or involving kids with gardening.

The book has many great ideas and instructions on making topiary frames but being the frugal gardener that I am I was looking for a ways to reduce the cost of the materials (mainly the wire) and time in creating them. Then one day I was in a store around Easter and noticed the decorations for the holiday were really just wire frames (similar to topiary frames) covered in dried grape twigs. I realized that these decorations you see around the holidays can be used as the basis for table top topiary and if you wait long enough it can cost you much less than a real topiary wire frame. I waited for Easter to pass and picked up the rabbit frame you see in the picture for a dollar and removed the grape twigs and beads with a good pair of scissors so I was left with what is essentially a rabbit topiary frame.

If you look carefully in your favorite stores you can find all kinds of topiary frames hiding inside of these decorative items. I see stores currently have cornucopias and pumpkins and if they're stocking Christmas decorations already you'll find trees, cones, stars, obelisks and reindeer. To minimize rust cover the metal with florist tape or something like Rust-Oleum.

If you want to turn your cheap topiary frame into a more expensive looking stuffed topiary frame then you can cover it with chicken wire or another wire mesh. Then stuff it with sphagnum moss and your plants. I'm going to going to be even more frugal and just anchor this rabbit frame into a hanging basket of ivy and train the stems over the wires.

You can even use larger pieces to create topiary shapes in your garden. My neighbor was tossing her outdoor Christmas decorations and I was going to pick up the reindeer wrapped in Christmas lights and cut off the antlers and create a topiary dog in my garden. Unfortunately, the local scrap metal collector got to it before I did but in the spring I'm sure I'll come across more.


  1. good ideas! I'll have to keep my eyes open for frames. I do enjoy toopiary, sometimes just to spite my daughters, who just look at each other and say 'oh, no, not the "T" word!!'

  2. Topiary... hm... would probably work well with my nasturtium which otherwise just ends up in a mess. Thanks for the tip! I'll probably build my frames on my own, when I find the right kind of steel wire.

  3. Great ideas! Topiary has always fasinated me....but I have yet to try it.

  4. @ muum,

    That's pretty funny that you do it just to spite your daughters. I do something similar with my siblings when I am out with them. I make them stop at every HD we come across so I can check for cacti and succulents. It has gotten to the point that I do it more just to see them roll their eyes.

    @ Rosengeranium

    I hope you get the wire. It's a smaller gage wire and around here is easy to find I'm not sure about your area but shouldn't be too hard. Let me know if you try any, I think I'm going to build a couple of frames this winter.

    @ Connie

    Glad you liked it. It has fascinated me too especially when I see formal topiary gardens but the thought of giving a crew-cut to a juniper keeps me away. I think I'll stick to table top topiary where I can't do much damage.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Thank you for this post! I've been attemting a half-assed "Oscar the Grouch" topiary in my yard using a garbage can that rusted out in the bottom. But my original vine died, and now my project stalled. I will absolutely read that book and watch the stores for bargains...thanks!

  6. Lisa,

    I never would have thought of an Oscar the Grouch topiary that's pretty awesome. If you make a stuffed frame you bring it indoors in the winter you can use a plant like ficus pumila aka creeping fig.

  7. Very good observation, Mr Brown Thumb... I make frames for topiary and get alot of jobs outside my realm like elephant frames for clothing made for elephants in manhattan by 11 top designers, window fronts and fashion shoots with polo, abercrombie and fitch...I utilize old store frames wherever I can to make new stuff!
    Turn it upside down or sideways, stick a plant in it and watch it grow. Stuffed toys can be restuffed with soil, an easy form!
    My front yard has several items to ward off the locals...last year it was a 12' pink flamingo, before that 12' naked lady sculptures, this year a 12' coffee cup - actually a new drive through - and 11' tall coffee drinking dragon mailbox. Have fun with it whatever the scale!...dragon jokes rule, yuk yuk

  8. Joey,

    Sorry for the late reply. I'm just catching up and saw your comment. I've actually been to your site and love it.

    What a small world the internet is. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  9. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Ive found the easiest for me is either hobby lobby or biglots after the holidays. Everything is like 75% off. I also use chicken wire for free form. The trick is to learn to make basic geometric shapes, then you can weave them into the wire. Hardest with chicken wire is a sphere based on the amount of cuts needed.

    im new to topiarying.. so its a learn as I go procesa

    1. Thanks for the tip on where to buy cheap topiary frames!

    2. I've read that paper lantern frames can be used for making round forms.



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