footer


Valentines for 2024

 

Topiary Themed Valentines

 

A fun selection of Valentines for this year! Are you tired of only getting ads and bills in the mail, I know I sure am. Keeping the post office in business by sending handwritten notes is a simple extravagance that I can stand behind. In our tech dependent lives sending and receiving a letter “in someone’s hand” is such a thoughtful and organic expression. Greeted cards and blank notecards are available. Click here for ordering information. #sendlove




2023 Holiday Design

For ordering information please select image or click here.




The Flower Cart

You know when you know, and I knew that I knew when I drove past this little darling sitting there all cute-like in a stranger’s yard. Let’s make a deal!  “Honey, I ‘m going to need the pick-up later. “

And so it began 10 years ago. This flower cart has its own special place in my trailer and my heart. It’s been hauled all over the place… set up after set up, take down after take down. Joel can testify. It’s an anchor for my space and a great place to create some topiary love! It seems only fitting to feature it in an upcoming design…

Flower Cart "before" picture.

Coming soon!!




Textures of Fall

White oak fallen leaves

Harvested corn spilled onto gravel

Schoen Place in Pittsford, NY




Wagon of Joy Design

Bunny pulling wagon with JOY spelled in topiary in front of cake topiary Christmas TreeBoxed Seasonal Topiary themed Greeting Cards

Our latest Hedges & Hares designs just in time for 2022! For ordering information please click here.




Heart Knot Design- installed!

Friends, how cool is this?! It takes my breath away. Thank you Elizabeth for finding me and allowing me to share your beautiful garden with my friends. I am so honored. And, I am SO taking cuttings this year of my boxwoods!! Thank you for answering all of my nosey questions about your process. My brain is spinning with ideas and I know you will inspire many others to create a knot garden or parterre of their own!

“I think I started taking cuttings in 2008 – and took cuttings for about three years. I ended up with 60 boxwood plants that I bought and about 250 babies that I propagated. I kept on searching for a good pattern that I could do and found your picture. It was perfect as it was made up of squares and half circles…and it was pretty…and it was charming…and I could trim it so it would look like a woven knot…and it had hearts!!! Then I lost your website and couldn’t find it again until I went through some old Facebook posts. Boxwood are slow growing; I trimmed it for the first time this spring. I have wanted to thank you for the longest time! Thank you!!!

Boxwood Design: I have always wanted a shaped English / French garden. I found many examples that were way too difficult to do in the space I had. The outside edge of the knot garden, along the rock edge, is 21 feet. I have room for my “shade” garden and some stone pathways and a bench. I was so happy to find your design. I can do this!!! It is basically straight lines and half-circles. Better yet, they weave together into intertwining hearts. I (and my husband) also like it because it can be a “casual” formal garden.

Propagation: August-September 2008
• There are a lot of resources online – here is one: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/boxwood/rooting-boxwood-bushes.htm
• I bought dwarf boxwoods (private nursery, Home Depot, and Lowe’s) and took cuttings. Note: if you leave multiple boxwood in your car on a warm day it will smell like a kitty litter box. …lovely.
• The first time I cut back the whole plant, but that was a bad idea. It left me with many short, unusable pieces, and may have stressed the plant. I found that I could plant 8” (+/-) cuttings that would make the new plants a lot larger. I experimented with later cuttings – one plant I would take cuttings from one side, another plant I would take them from the center, or randomly find branches that looked good. By not pruning the whole plant, I could make cuttings from the same “mommy” plant the following years.
• As I took my cuttings, I put them into a bucket of water so they wouldn’t dry out.

• I trimmed the leaves off of lower couple of inches, or so, and scraped the bark off of one side of the bottom of the cuttings. (see drawing.)
• I stuck them in Root-tone? Some sort of rooting powder.
• Then placed them in a window box, close together, in a mixture of rooting mix and sand. I then soaked them and let them drain. I think I had about 15 window boxes +. I don’t remember.
• I placed them on some benches on our back deck along the side of the house. They received a few hours of morning sun. I kept them damp and misted them 3-4 times a day.

• I had to figure out what to do with them when it got cold – – ??
• I had some plastic shelves so I put the window boxes of cuttings on the shelves, put the shelves next to the French door on the back deck and rotated them occasionally so both ends would get some sun. I bought some heavyweight clear vinyl (plastic?) from JoAnn’s and covered the shelves to make a “greenhouse.” My make-do greenhouse is in the back of my yard for storage now.

• I bought some heat mats, but found that it didn’t really warm up the plants. I bought some spongy floor mats and put it under the heat mats. I also put an instant type meat thermometer in each window box to make sure my babies weren’t getting too hot, or too cold. I don’t remember the ideal temperature. I did put the heat mats on a timer.
• Later, I put some fluorescent glow lights in each shelf and they were on the timer as well. The second year, I hung the grow lights inside the house, in the kitchen next to the French door.
• I kept them from drying out and misted them often.

Rooting Boxwood Bushes: Growing Boxwood From Cuttings
Used as hedges, edging, screening plants and accents, you can never have too many boxwoods. Read this article to find out how to get plenty of new shrubs for free by starting boxwood cuttings. Click here to learn more about boxwood propagation. gardeningknowhow.com

Moving the cuttings:
• My success rate was great – so I have been told – over 50% of my cuttings developed roots.
• I waited until July to plant the cuttings into pots. I could have waited another year if I wanted to.
• I used some sort of soil amendment for shrubs and put the cuttings that had roots into pots. (I didn’t realize that I should have added it to the topsoil, but used it full strength. I haven’t seen it lately and I don’t remember exactly what it was.) I ran out of pots so some of the cuttings were grouped together into one pot or shared larger flower pots.
• I watered them well, then watered them with some Miracle Grow Quick start.
• I put them in a shady, protected area along a fence and made sure that they didn’t dry out.
• In the winter I mulched around the pots with leaves.
• In August I would buy more “Mommy” plants and start the process over again.
• I bought some used pots from a private nursery.

• I did this every year until 2012. I had breast cancer and was a bit busy with surgeries and chemotherapy. Watering all of the babies and the mommy plants during the summer took almost an hour a day. Thankfully my husband often took over the watering for me. (I am fine, now, by the way.)
• I had about 300 babies, and about 40 mommy plants (I think.)

Planting: September 23, 2015. The area does not have full intense sun.
• I needed a flat area, and I needed the soil to drain. Boxwood do not like to have soggy feet. My backyard is quite marshy during the winter. I hired a landscaping company to build a retaining wall and bring in some topsoil for a raised garden. They upgraded the topsoil to garden soil. They also put the rocks around the raised garden for me. Nice!
• I read where I should place the boxwood farther apart and wait (forever) for the plants to fill in. I wondered how the formal gardens in Europe and England were planted. We went to visit my brother who was living near Paris and visited Versailles. I wish I still had the picture I took – – I crawled on my knees to get a picture of the boxwood formal gardens at ground level. The boxwood were planted closely together.
• Some of the boxwood roots were a bit rootbound so I cut off the roots (so I could get them out of the pots) then “teased” the roots out before I planted them.
• I used some plastic lattice to help me lay out the garden and hired a friend to help me plant. It took us about a day to plant the raised garden (the hearts.) I don’t remember if we used the Quick Start fertilizer or not. We did not add any other fertilizer, or fertilizer mulch. I hired some neighbor kids and we mulched with small bark nuggets. I was beginning to feel my age.
• I did not plant the border boxwood as I had standing water problems. The next summer, I dug some trenches that sloped down the hill under where the boxwood would grow. I dug a pit (a sump) at the end of my trenches and put some concrete blocks covered with landscape fabric. I still have a few spots that do not dry out very well, but the boxwood are thriving.
• I used the mommy boxwood for short hedges along the back of the house, along my girly shed, and the border around the knot garden. Since I had large and small boxwood, I made a crenulated design.

How long did installation take?
• Planting the boxwood did not really take that long – about a day. Getting the area ready, and growing the cuttings to a healthy size took years. I could have spent a lot of money and bought the boxwood, but I enjoyed taking the cuttings.

Biggest Challenge: Making the area drain well was the hardest part.

Maintenance? Trimming? Fertilizing?
• Washington State has dry summers. I need to water the knot garden for at least 4 hours once a week. There is one corner, near a large fir tree that needs to be watered more often.
• Two years ago (August 2018) I trimmed the knot garden for the first time. Last August I hired my friend and we gave it a more intense “haircut.” We will refine it more as it grows in. Picking up the trimmed pieces is the hardest part of trimming. Any mistakes we make will always grow out, given time. The knot garden is less work than mowing. Boxwood are slow growing plants.
• I put medium bark nuggets around the boxwood to help prevent weeds, but there is some weeding that needs to be done. I need to clean off falling leaves and branches in the fall / winter. The pictures I just took show leaves and branches that should be cleared off.
• I have used the Kellogg Organic Grow mulch around, but not touching, the base of the plants in the spring for the first three years. The plants seem to appreciate it.

Advice? Find a design you love, then enjoy the process.

Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your garden! I can’t wait to start propogating my boxwoods!: )

 






Just in time for Mother’s Day

Looking for pretty gift that you can have sent to your mom for Mother’s Day? How about some pretty stationery featuring a lovely rose topiary with a matching soap and linen guest towel? Click here for ordering information.

 

Or perhaps something with a lemon/citrus theme for the kitchen? Click here for ordering details.

 

Even a pretty box of thank-yous because we all have so many people to thank, uplift and encourage these days…




Gracie’s story

This is our little Gracie. She was Olie’s little sister and what a handful she was. Today her face is getting as white as can be. She came to us as a puppy- a large puppy who was too much for her elderly owner. Here on the farm she could use up some of that supernatural puppy superpower. Oliver was patient and kind and taught her the boundaries. She was always over the top- joyful. I frequently thought that she was joy-puppified.

This is Gracie helping in the garden.

This is gracie looking for her keys in the snow.

This is gracie playing in the mud.

This is gracie in her happiest of places- the middle of the pond next door. Oh, how this dog loves to swim.

I have never had a dog that likes vegetables as she does. She picks cherries off of the tree….

she picks peas off the vine…

and she pulls carrots out of the garden before I get to them!

She was kind when Olie got older and finally respected his space. Much to her chagrin after Oliver passed away Theo came along and he was all the puppy that she was- stealing toys, herding, nipping and basically being a pesky younger sibling.

Now she’s the grandma to Lil Roux- a Weimaraner/German Shepherd mix.

She is patient when Roux wants to chew on her ears and steals her bone. She is sweet and loving but still a bull in a china shop. She doesn’t bound across the yard like the joyful gazelle she once was when we drive up the driveway. Now she just walks slowly out of the garage with her tail wagging and stalls in front of the car. Her happiest days are filled with riding up or down the driveway in the UPS truck or waiting for a treat from the mailman. She was my model for the Yellow Lab design. She is truly a love and ever so joyful.

Many of you know that I am an animal person. Since this blog started we have lost and gained a share of lifetimes. Each with a special place for us. What joy I have known to host and love these souls for this short time. Thank you to everyone who has shared their loves and their losses with me over the years. I consider it a great honor.

Update: This was written in January but not posted. Since then we have had to say good-bye to this sweet girl. Her presence in our family is greatly missed…

it’s an understatement but I don’t have the words…




Riviera Holiday

 

A fun new travel design celebrating the azure water and beautiful beaches of the French Riviera. This watercolor painting was created to compliment the theme of the 2020 Philadelphia Flower Show. For more information click here.




Small Business Saturday 2019

A big thank you to all of my customers who have supported me and my small business over the years. You’ve helped support a dream, a family and so much more! You are truly appreciated!

These fun little guys are available on a new greeting card that you can see here.




ABOUT

Hi, I’m Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed art for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, two children and a small petting zoo of other family members. #shapeyoursweetestlife

Categories

Archives



Follow Me!

Email Sign Up

* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

Upcoming Shows

Philadelphia Flower Show
PA Convention Center
March 5th-13th
Booth #Z-1002

Copy Protected

This blog and all of the creative elements ie., written content, illustrations and photographs are the sole property of Michelle Masters Studio and cannot be reproduced in any form without the artist's permission.

Tags