Despite the nice weather we’ve had lately, it’s still to early for gardening. So to satisfy my urge to play in the dirt, I made a topiary bunny. And yes, there are succulents. He’s smaller than Fred so he can stay indoors in the winter.
Topiary Bunny supplies:
- A bunch of succulents. Even this little bunny took a lot of succulents. Choose mostly the flatter rosette forms.
- You can also use English Ivy. It’s a more traditional choice for topiary and tolerant of shady conditions. Choose smaller leaved varieties and if you place your topiary outdoors, make sure it doesn’t trail down far enough to touch soil or it will make a run for it.
- A pot, preferably clay. Mine is an 8″ whitewashed clay bowl.
- Chicken wire
- Florist wire – used to ‘sew’ body parts together and to anchor newly planted succulents.
- Heavier gauge wire – used to stabilize the topiary form where needed.
- Side cutters. I scrubbed mine before taking this picture, I didn’t want you thinking I’m one of those jerks who might leave tools lying around outside.
- Cactus Soil
- Sphagnum Moss.
- A bucket to soak the moss in.
Forming the topiary:
Soak your sphagnum in a bowl or bucket of water. Set aside.
For my 8″ bowl, I cut a piece of chicken wire about 24″ wide.
Twist the ends of the wires together to form a tube. Don’t go all the way up, just the first 6″ or so – about the height of the bunny’s chest plus the pot.
Set your chicken wire tube into the clay bowl and fill with cactus soil to about an inch below the rim. Tamp it down to secure the chicken wire tube.
Start shaping the bunny body. You finesse the chicken wire, stretching here, compressing there, and eventually its the shape of a bunny’s rump. Keep shaping the wire to make the slope of the back. If you need to, you can trim away some of the width of the chicken wire as you shrink your tube down to form the neck.
Once you start forming the neck, fill the body with the wet moss. Continue forming the neck and head.
Finish filling the bunny with moss and close up the chicken wire after trimming away your excess. My ‘seam’ runs along the top of his face.
Cut a piece of chicken wire about 4″ by 8″. Form it into a tube.
Use the florist wire to ‘sew’ the ears to the head. Flatten and shape the tubes as you fill them with moss. Had the moss been dyed, I might have left him just like this.
Thread a piece of the heavier gauge wire down each ear into the body to stabilize them. Curve the ears until you are happy with the shape.
Plant your topiary
Knock as much soil off the roots as you can. It makes it a little easier to push the roots into the topiary. Use your finger to make a hole in the moss and the work the roots in. A pencil is helpful for pushing the roots into the body of the topiary. For any plants that don’t seem secure, bend a piece of florist wire into a ‘u’ and use it to pin the plant in place.
My bunny topiary finished.
I used this cluster of frilly edged succulents as the tail.
A pink edged rosette for the nose.
Two similarly sized flat blue rosettes as eyes.
I’m not 100% happy with the cluster of hen’s and chicks on my bunny’s head. I’ll probably try to thin it out a bit so it’s less bulky looking. I also used some variegated English Ivy on my bunny, since I won’t put this one in the garden.
I highly recommend that just before closing up your bunny’s face, you form a ‘U’ shaped support as tall as your bunny from the heavier gauge wire and run it through the middle of your bunny. I did not do this and my bunny collapsed a bit with the plants.
This link – Make a Succulent Topiary – gives a more detailed tutorial on filling and planting your topiary form along with useful care tips.
So go make yourself a bunny!