My topiary Teddy Bears.
I promised, over on the landscape forum, that I would post the directions for my original teddy bear topiaries. Over the years I have played with the spagnum moss type topiaries wrapped with yards of fishing line and have never been happy with them unless they are put in one spot. Then the intended greenery is planted in the ground to climb and be shaped on the form. But, the free standing ones with creeping fig attached have never looked healthy to me. This thought was reinforced when I went on a garden tour. The owner had constructed 20 of this type, very laboriously, and told me she was disappointed in their appearance. No matter what she fed her topiaries they always looked anemic and thin.
On the the way home I was thinking about the problem and inspiration struck! Got out the sewing machine. Cut two pieces of the black landscape cloth (the type with one side that is fuzzy). Ran two pieces together through the sewing machine and discovered it stitched like a dream. Then, the fun began.
First, I will post the directions for southern gardeners and then give the northern gardeners an idea for a different approach.
1. Locate an easy to assemble teddy bear pattern. Enlarge at a copy center, if desired.
2. Cut the pattern out of landscape cloth (fuzzy side is the right side) and double stitch each seam. Sew each section, head, arms, body, legs. Be sure to leave an opening in the back seam of the body. Do not trim the seams. Add eyes and a nose just as in a regular bear.
3. Now, glue each seam heavily with the type of glue (such as Jewel-it)used to attach beads to sweatshirts. Allow to dry 24 hrs. Finish sewing the bear together and stuff the arms, legs and head with regular polyfil.
4. Put a mixture of 1/2 good potting soil and 1/2 milled spaghum moss in a pail. Add water so you have a soupy mess and let stand for an hour. Wearing rubber gloves, squeeze the water out of this mix and stuff the bear's body tightly.
5. Insert a rooted creeping fig in the back opening and sew the opening shut using a fine brass wire available at hardware stores. Keep well watered. I feed mine with a foliar spray when feeding other plants.
The creeping fig will stick to the fuzzy landscape cloth like glue. All you need to do is direct shoots and trim. If you decide to make a very large bear it will be heavy. My largest one weights about 60#. I made my first bear five years ago and it is holding together perfectly.
To northern gardeners. Follow the above directions, but stuff the whole bear with polyfil. Do not plant creeping fig in it. Tuck several bricks down in the bottom to weight the topiary. These bears, by themselves, are attractive. Now, sew up a hat that has a depression in the crown which you can use as a planting pot. Fill it with annuals of your choice. In winter you can bring it in the house and plant ivy in the hat, or I have planted the small poinsettias in the hat for the holidays. And, you can dress them in outdoor fabrics,...