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Saturday, May 7, 2016 Container GardeningHouseplants

Formal Style with Eugenia

One of the things I love best about gardening is that it’s always full of surprises. Just when you think you’ve seen or grown it all, something comes along that knocks your socks off.  In my case, this happened a year ago when I first unpacked a pair of eugenia topiaries shipped to my wife Karen and I for a photo shoot. Each of these leafy shrubs had been carefully trimmed into a trio of ball shapes. I remember thinking,  “Who in their right mind would include these in their garden?”

After all, our garden “style” could best be described as loose and informal, with perennials, roses, and annual flowers tumbling over each other, fighting for attention. Anything stiff or formal had no place in our beds and borders.

That is, until, the day we replanted the eugenia topiary into a pair of tall, cobalt blue ceramic containers and used them to flank our front door. Almost immediately these two almost-alien-looking plants improved the appearance of our porch. Suddenly adding this touch of horticultural formality to our otherwise chaotic garden seemed like a brilliant idea.

Plus, we discovered just how easy eugenia topiary is to care for. All you have to do is water them when the soil starts to dry out and give them an occasional haircut to maintain their shapely figure. That’s it. They prefer a sunny location (be sure to rotate them on occasion to promote even growth). We now have another pair by our back door on the north side of our home, however, and they do almost as well.

Just keep in mind that eugenia won’t tolerate freezing temperatures so bring the plants indoors and treat them as houseplants during the winter.  Eugenia topiaries are also available in double ball, cone, and pom-pom shapes.

Written by:
Doug Jimerson

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