Sunday, August 27, 2006

Remembering 9/11 Victims

Today I ran across a special blogging opportunity. Someone came up with the great idea of a blogging tribute to the victims of 9/11. On the upcoming anniversary of that tragedy, 2,996 bloggers will post individual tributes, each honoring one of the victims of the terrible events of that day. What a great opportunity to be a part of something really noble and important. I was very excited about it, and almost signed up, but as I read about some of the few as yet assigned victims, I started to feel very emotional and knew that in my weepy pregnant state that this would be too hard for me to do. Maybe if they do it again next year. But, I do look forward to seeing many of the tributes. The idea is that so many tributes will be out there on that day, that everyone who reads blogs will encounter them and remember. Maybe you would like to participate? You can sign up here. Last I checked there were 83 unassigned victims. September 11th is coming up fast and it would be very sad if there were any that did not get assigned in time.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Love Topiary

I love topiary! I think it is a perfect meld of my love of gardening and my taste in design. I would love to have a classic European garden. It would have lovely shaped boxwood edges, vistas of fountains and statuary framed with evergreen, and secret rooms walled in by hedges older than I, and entered in through green arches. Maybe even a labrynth for playing hide and seek in. Of course, I'd need a legion of gardeners with hedge trimmers in hand to achieve that. Instead I try to create my own much more modest versions.

The heart one above is one I've done more than once. It is really easy, just a metal coat hanger shaped into a heart. I don't even untwist the hook of the hanger. I just straighten out the hook and poke it into a pot of ivy. I then wind the ivy around the wires. Ivy is a great houseplant for those who are watering challenged like myself. They actually like to dry out between waterings. This one I water just once a week, despite its tiny pot.

I made a globe shaped one once by reshaping the wire hanger off of a hanging plant. To cover the wire "stem" I twisted the vines smoothly around it, removing the leaves along them till they reached the globe section.

This is my biggest version. Purchased wire topiary forms can be expensive, so one day at the hardware store I had an inspiration. I picked up a tomato cage that was proportional to the pot I planned on using. First, I tied the three wires that usually poke into the ground together with a bit of wire. (It actually was the wire out of a twist tie!) I heated the wire tips over a flame on my stove and used needle nose pliers to curl them under. Then I spray painted the whole thing with flat black paint, stuck it in my pot and planted the ivy. The whole thing cost me $2. Unfortunately, I had to leave it behind in Utah when we moved. (Which also explains the poor picture of it.)

My next topiary project is a pair of these:

I want to try trimming them into spirals when they get a bit bigger. I'm adding ivy around the edges to hang over the sides. The trimmings are actually coming from my heart topiary above. Ivy cuttings root really easily. I just stick the ends of them into water till they have enough roots to plant.

Maybe, someday I'll be brave enough to try a chicken. Or an elephant. Emily would love that. (She keeps asking me if she can have a pet elephant.)