I was pretty excited to get started on this owl topiary but now that it’s finished I don’t like it. I’m finding if it’s a more vertical topiary, they are harder to plant. The more horizontal ones – like the turtles are easier. It doesn’t help either that for some reason getting the photos to my computer and then uploaded to here did not go as usual.
When I’m working with pictures, I usually change all of my file names to more descriptive titles before uploading. I may even include their order in the file name. Unfortunately each time I attempt to do any of that, my computer freezes up, so here we are. I’ll attempt to make the best of it but this won’t be a proper tutorial.
For the base of the owl, I made a circle of wire about 7″ across. From there I attached two somewhat egg-shaped pieces of wire, crossed at the center. You can see I twisted them together and then wrapped it with finer wire to secure them. These are then attached to the base with all wire ends facing into the body of the owl.
This next piece of wire forms the beak and ear tufts.
Before wrapping the frame in mesh, I added a third wire to support the center of the beak. I’m not sure it was necessary, but I do know it made planting in that area tricky.
The chicken wire is formed into a tube again, and the bottom edge securely attached to the base of the owl form.
I’ve mentioned shaping the chicken wire in other posts. It’s surprisingly easy. If you compress the hexagons of the mesh one way, they get longer the other way. So when I want the ‘belly’ of the owl larger than the base, I shorten the hexagons and it gets wider. At the top of the owl’s head the mesh gets overlapped and wired close.
From there I started stuffing the owl. Squeeze out the moss as much as possible, and fill the owl topiary. The ear tufts took special attention to make sure they were completely filled. The entire owl took a surprising amount of moss to fill – it needs to be firmly packed in because it seems to shrink as it dries.
Planting the Owl Topiary
Until this point, I was pleased with my owl. It looked like an owl and more important, it looked like the picture in my head. Then I started planting it.
I’ve had these two rosettes set aside for a while. All along I knew they were going to be my owls eyes.
I used florist wire to secure the plants, they can be taken out once everything roots into the moss.
At this point, I left the owl over night. Sometimes ideas need to simmer.
Eventually I added more Sempervivum (hens & chicks), thinking that would improve the look of the owl.
It did not.
I’m going to set him in a sunny window for now, we’ll see if time and plants growing improves him a bit but I honestly prefer the look of the mini turtle from last week.
What do you think? Which is your favorite? Click >>here<< to see what I eventually did with this topiary.
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