Topiary Tales

House Beautiful
I love it when I get emails from blog readers asking me to fill them in on my opinion on a given aspect of design or certain DIY projects–its so flattering! This one comes from one of my favorite readers who wanted to know about house plants … when to use them, where to put them, and which ones to pick out. Unfortunately for my reader, I am not a huge fan of the house plant. Do you ever walk by those apartment windows where you just see a chaos of plants that are clinging on for dear life? That is my fear with house plants, so I tend to stay away from them as a general rule. Additionally, try keeping anything alive in an apartment! But one thing that I would advocate if you are looking to add something green and living into your decor is the topiary. 
House Beautiful
These two pictures, from the foyer of decorator Windsor Smith’s LA home, exemplify why I like topiaries. Green, clean, and architectural. Additionally, you have the opportunity to use a really chic pot, which can also enhance the room’s design. 
House Beautiful
Here, in the Newport Home of designer John Peixnho, he uses a cluster of miniature topiaries on a hall table, which helps to create good height, as well as add some green touches to the space. 
House Beautiful
In this Steven Gambrel designed kitchen, the topiaries take on a more modern feel, and seem to mimic the vertical light fixtures in the space. The topiaries on the table have more of a free-form shape than round, whereas the topiaries on the countertop have a more traditional rounded shape. One of the things that I love about topiaries is that they come in all shapes and sizes. So far, I have shown you both boxwood and myrtle topiaries, which are my favorite. However, a topiary can be made of many other things such as ivy, rosemary, lavender, and even fruit!
House Beautiful
In this living room by Jonathan Rosen, he has added topiaries that use wire to create a transparent globe shape. 
Now if you want to add that green and architectural element to your space that only a topiary can provide, but you worry about your lack of a green thumb, Lexington Gardens in NYC sells preserved topiaries. They are not faux, they are simply dried and preserved to look alive–you just don’t have to keep them alive. However, they are not giving these away … the miniature start at $95! 
Habitually Chic
Next door at Trelliage, Bunny Williams shop, you can get inspiration from her abundant use of topiaries, and then move on. If you’re anything like me, you cannot afford anything in there. People are typically not giving away topiaries,  at Lenox Hill Florist on the Upper East Side I was quoted a price of $45 for a small myrtle topiary, and at Century Florist in the same neighborhood I was quoted $50. This is not cheap, but could be considered reasonable, as places such as Plaza Florist, who are considered topiary experts, will charge far more than that. 
House Beautiful
If you want to add a topiary to your decorating scheme, I would go out and scour the neighborhood doing a price comparison. Call around and go to different places, but I would avoid the shops that advertise as topiary experts–that translates to expensive topiary! To my reader who asked me the question, I hope this helps!

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  • I can keep green things alive inside, but their appearance is always a little unkempt. Topiaries are a brilliant idea as an alternative. Thanks!

  • When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, I had a “topiary” making party at the Garden Center in Darien and it was so much fun being able to make my own! These were obviously small scale but I love seeing big topiaries. The ones in Windsor Smith’s home are beautiful!