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Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

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Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  Furbalsmom on 12/16/2010, 7:43 pm

I just bought the cutest Christmas Tree shaped Rosemary plant fromTrader Joe's. I plan to give them as hostess gifts to the lovely lady that is putting up with us for Christmas.

Now, why can't I make my own? Has anyone tried to do this with rosemary plants? (hint hint Acara and anyone else who works with topiaries) study

It just seems like it would not be that hard to take some small Rosemary plants this spring to prepare for next Christmas. Rosemary grows well as a perennial here in OR.

Anyone have experience or suggestions?
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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  acara on 12/16/2010, 10:27 pm

They are very easy to make.

The hard way to do it is a free-form shaping, as they grow.

The easy way, is to use the same plastic netting that they use for Christmas trees..... or use an empty lemon/lime netting bag from the grocery store.

Simply slip the netting over the Rosemary bush, like you would a sock/sleeve/stocking, trim off the excess from the end, gather & tie the top to give it the taper and then trim what "pokes out" of the netting. One your done, simply slit the netting down the side to remove.

Depending on how much you stuffed in the stocking, you usually end up with the general shape of a Christmas tree and just have to do some minor trimming to get the "stragglers".

Finish it off with wrapping foil/paper around the pot and add a small ornamental bow/beads/decoration.

I'm sure there is probably some wildly overpriced mandrel/form on the internet somewhere .... but the topiaries reallly arent that tough to do without them.

Rosemary is what most folks use to start learning how to make topiaries .... grows fast, easy to work with, etc.

If you really want some fun, find one of those illuminated wicker or wire reindeers from Walmart in the trash piles after Christmas, and use it as a grow-form for your Rosemary. When you get close the Christmas next year, just cut away the form with a Dremel tool and you have the best smelling, lifesize reindeer topiary for your Christmas decoration !!!!!!!
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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  acara on 12/16/2010, 10:58 pm

Actually Furbalsmom .... since your West Coast ...

If you like doing the "topiary-thing" with Rosemary .... one of the best "cheater sites" Very Happy , is etopiary.com

All of the cool, young & lazy topiary punks (like me) buy from them, in order to make ourselves look more dedicated/talented than we really are ....



Shhhhh ..... it's a secret ...LOL

Seriously though ... anything with a single-strand base is meant to be stuffed with moss and then pin-planted, but you can "live-grow" any of the other forms with stuff like rosemary , Texas Sage, Japanese boxwood, etc
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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  boffer on 12/16/2010, 11:01 pm

@acara wrote:If you really want some fun, find one of those illuminated wicker or wire reindeers from Walmart in the trash piles after Christmas, and use it as a grow-form for your Rosemary.
OK, I will! I've been sitting on a deer for a couple years-I guess it's time to do something with it. I hadn't heard of using Rosemary. Should the front legs go in a pot, and the back legs go in another pot?
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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  Furbalsmom on 12/17/2010, 12:46 am

@acara wrote:They are very easy to make.

The hard way to do it is a free-form shaping, as they grow.

The easy way, is to use the same plastic netting that they use for Christmas trees..... or use an empty lemon/lime netting bag from the grocery store.

Simply slip the netting over the Rosemary bush, like you would a sock/sleeve/stocking, trim off the excess from the end, gather & tie the top to give it the taper and then trim what "pokes out" of the netting. One your done, simply slit the netting down the side to remove.

Depending on how much you stuffed in the stocking, you usually end up with the general shape of a Christmas tree and just have to do some minor trimming to get the "stragglers".

Finish it off with wrapping foil/paper around the pot and add a small ornamental bow/beads/decoration.

I'm sure there is probably some wildly overpriced mandrel/form on the internet somewhere .... but the topiaries reallly arent that tough to do without them.

Rosemary is what most folks use to start learning how to make topiaries .... grows fast, easy to work with, etc.

If you really want some fun, find one of those illuminated wicker or wire reindeers from Walmart in the trash piles after Christmas, and use it as a grow-form for your Rosemary. When you get close the Christmas next year, just cut away the form with a Dremel tool and you have the best smelling, lifesize reindeer topiary for your Christmas decoration !!!!!!!

We will let Boffer play with the reindeer.
I am a little more simple minded, so it sounds like a plan to make Christmas Trees. I usually have lemon/lime bags on hand (for my lemon drops, mohitos, and margaritas) I am always on the look-out for easy ways to do things. This sounds easy enough I may just as well cut some rosemary starts from my big bush out front and get going. Just a few snips early on to make the cutting bushy then wait until late fall to finish up for Christmas. I must put this on my calendar so I don't wake up Christmas Morning and then remember what I was supposed to do in the Spring and then again at Thanksgiving.

thanks for the info.
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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  acara on 12/17/2010, 6:31 am

@boffer wrote:
@acara wrote:If you really want some fun, find one of those illuminated wicker or wire reindeers from Walmart in the trash piles after Christmas, and use it as a grow-form for your Rosemary.
OK, I will! I've been sitting on a deer for a couple years-I guess it's time to do something with it. I hadn't heard of using Rosemary. Should the front legs go in a pot, and the back legs go in another pot?

Yes, you can do the pots on he individual legs, or build 1 rectangular box that has a plant growing at the base of each leg.

Or you can "cheat" Twisted Evil

1) Get some Spaghnum moss (available in the Orchid section of most Nurseries), soak it in water overnight and stuff the legs of the form (and any other wierd places on a form that you think would be too difficult, or narrow, to grow in). Soaking the spaghnum makes it much more maleable/formable & allows you to compact it in the frame. For tough areas, you can wrap the stuffed part of the fram in light-test monofilament (fishing line).

2) Take sheet moss (same availability as above) or a coir pot/liner and mount a soil-nest in a low point of the frame (offset to the non-visible side of the figure).

3) Add growing medium (Mel's Mix would probably be ideal for this)

(Optional) Not ony do I cheat, but I'm lazy & forgetful .... so I usually run a low-volume irrigation line, with a disconnect (in case I want to move the topiary around) up the base of the topiary, to the soil nest. I also use a spray mister head at the end of the line. This allows me to plug the topiary into my existing automatic irrigation system and I dont have to remember to keep watering the topiary.

4) Plant your Rosemary & let it grow (number of plants needed will be based on size of your frame, variety of plant your using etc)...trim as needed when it gets outside the frame.

5) When you are ready to display, take a water bottle, fill with water and add green food coloring. Spray the areas you filled with spaghnum. Once the spaghnum dries, you can decide if you need to apply more coats (to get a shade of green that matches the color of the plants you used). If your not looking for perfection ...just dump the whole bottle of food coloring into your spray bottle & you can "make it green" in one coat.

Boffer, sometimes the bigger stuff, or bulky shapes requires an alternate method that uses a vining plant, instead of something like Rosemary.....if you send/PM me a pic of what your looking to use as a grow-frame, I can tell you which way would work best for you.
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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  acara on 12/17/2010, 6:47 am

@Furbalsmom wrote:
This sounds easy enough I may just as well cut some rosemary starts from my big bush out front and get going. Just a few snips early on to make the cutting bushy then wait until late fall to finish up for Christmas.
for the info.

No problem.

If your going to start dedicated cuttings for this, I'd recommend staking them. Nothing fancy (those cheap bamboo statks that come in a bag at Home Depot work great), just something to keep the central stem/stalk/trunk growing straight & upright. Rosemary seems to have a mind of it's own & will rarely go straight-up (at least the stuff I grow), without some help/guidance.
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reindeer art

Post  ander217 on 12/17/2010, 8:54 am

Boffer, I'm not sure if you could slant the plant enough for this to work, but I can picture a reindeer with his back legs coming out of a pot that is camouflaged by the front runner of a sleigh carrying Santa Claus. Santa can hold the reins which actually help hold up the neck of the reindeer that appears to be just starting to take off in flight.

Would that be possible?

LeAnn (who never met a rosemary plant she couldn't kill)

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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

Post  Megan on 12/17/2010, 11:01 pm

@ander217 wrote:LeAnn (who never met a rosemary plant she couldn't kill)

LeAnn, I am in a border area where rosemary can't always overwinter outdoors. I tried it for YEARS until finally I found one. The varieties differ. (And now, of course, having said this, the one I've successfully grown is going to die. Ack!!!)
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Re: Rosemary Christmas Tree Topiaries

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