I have been a fan of topiaries for years and am always drawn to buy them, even when history tells me I won’t be able to keep them alive for more than a few months. In our new house, my studio is a sunroom, so it is a sanctuary for plants during the winter and I’m having more success with plants than I ever had before. The light in the studio couldn’t save these topiaries I bought last summer when we first moved in, though. I didn’t bring them in before the first frost and they were toast. Even if I had brought them in before the frost, I couldn’t handle the smell! They stunk up the studio and I was almost glad the frost got them, so I had a good excuse to pitch them.
Over the winter, I put a pair potted of evergreens next to the door and they hung on until mid-April when they were looking like two sad trees, dried to crisps.
I have been contemplating an artificial option, but they are expensive and I hadn’t found any that looked convincingly real. During Way Day at Wayfair, though, I found a pair that had good reviews and they weren’t dinky, scrawny, or an unnatural shade of green. At $155/each, they weren’t cheap, but when I averaged the money I spent on real plants that eventually died and had to be replaced, I would come out ahead after the initial investment.
So, I went for it. I ordered a pair of the Darby Home Co Boxwood Topiaries…
And they look really good!! I am so impressed with them.
Upon close inspection, they do look like plastic plants, but when you see them from the sidewalk or even as you approach the door, they look like healthy boxwood topiaries.
The branches can be fluffed and adjusted, so you can make them look freshly trimmed or a little more wild and natural. I think having a few rogue branches makes them look more realistic.
They come in a nicely weighted pot, but visually, it is ridiculously small for the size of the topiary. I fixed that by putting them in some planters I picked up on clearance last summer.
I’m planning on filling the pot with small rocks and maybe even topping it off with mulch, but we’ll see how the rocks look. They will add more weight and prevent the topiaries from tipping over in the wind.
I’ll let you know how they wear and weather over time. That will be the ultimate test. I’m hoping they’ll last for many years.
I also bought a couple of live flowering plants to fill the concrete urns flanking the bench. They look so pretty!
The curb appeal stops there, though! Our garden beds are in serious need of an overhaul. We don’t have a single evergreen, so it looks like we’ve had a bunch of twigs stuck in the ground since November. The weed blocking fabric is coming up and we have a dead rose bush and those rocks… oh, what a pain! They are supposed to be low maintenance, since you don’t have to replace them each year, but they look messy to me and how in the world are you supposed to remove old plants/bushes and plant new ones?
The whole thing just isn’t working for us, so we’re going to remove the rock, weed blocker and just about everything else. Some of the bushes are nice, like the peonies under the front window, but I want to move them to a different place.
We’ll replace everything with a more traditional look – evergreens, hydrangeas, some perennial ground covers, space for flowering annuals, etc. I’m planning to stick with a green and white color palette, maybe adding a touch of purple here and there. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’d like to get as much planting done this spring, so we can enjoying watching everything grow over the next few years. We’ll focus on the front and left side of the house this year and then we’ll work on the right side and back next year. (Unless we just get on a roll and want to keep going!)
As I’ve shared with other projects, we’re trying to pace ourselves with this house and break up projects into manageable chunks. It reduces the risk of burnout and decision fatigue and it also gives us a chance to live with the projects we’ve done so far and make any adjustments, if needed, before moving forward.
I think in this age of TV home makeovers, it’s good to remember that working on a home isn’t a race…