Create a pyramid of greenery anywhere in your yard with this simple topiary project.
This simple and inexpensive ivy topiary begins with an inverted tomato cage and is completed by adding a spray-painted ping-pong ball on top.
1. Start with the smallest tomato cage you can find (usually 2 feet tall). Invert it and twist wire around the top ends to secure it in a cone shape.
2. Spray-paint a ping-pong ball with matte silver paint. Poke a hole in the ball with a screwdriver and place the ball atop the topiary. (Another alternative to the ping-pong ball: drapery finials.)
3. Place a pot of ivy inside the inverted cage and start the trailing stems up the sides of the cage. You can run additional wire down the sides of the cage to help the ivy fill in faster. This topiary is Hedera helix 'Baltica' (English ivy), which is hardy in zones 5-10.
In harsh climates, protect the topiary from sun and wind, and keep it in a pot that can be brought indoors during winter. If you use one potted plant and fertilize it regularly, it will fill in the topiary in a year or two. Use more than one plant in the topiary if you're in a hurry for it to fill in.
Clip any side shoots regularly to encourage a dense cover. Once the ivy fills in, you can make the topiary bigger. Just pull the ivy back, put a larger cage atop the old one, and wind the ivy up it.
If ivy doesn't suit your taste, try these plant alternatives: