Brontosauraus Topiary for the Young at Heart

Brontosaurus Topiary

When my boys were small and interested in things like trains and dinosaurs, I spotted a Brontosaurus topiary frame in a garden catalog.  I’d never created a topiary before, but I thought it would be fun to try.  Having children gives you permission to play with Lego’s and to connect train tracks across the living room floor.  It’s also great justification for buying a pricey topiary frame “for the kids.”  I could hardly wait for it to arrive!

I bought and assembled the frame, centering it in the corner garden and bought four small-leafed ivy plants to place in each of the feet.  Somehow I missed a step and all the ivy died.  The small plants simply dried out too quickly.  I bought more ivy, and this time planted straight into the ground.  I stuffed the frame with Sphagnum moss and waited for the plants to fill in.  After a month or so, I had enough ivy to start threading it through the frame.  Eventually it was thick enough to prune.  It took longer than I thought, but the frame filled out and we had an adorable green Brontosaurus in our yard.

The boys are more interested in Minecraft than dinosaurs these days, but the charming little fellow lives on.  I trim it once or twice a year but for the most part it requires very little attention.  After a good prune, I find a small flower for the dinosaur’s eye.  It reminds me of my carefree summer days in our London yard and for just a moment I’m five years old again.

Time for a Trim


We have a patch of earth that we share with our neighbors, affectionately know as the children’s garden.  It’s evolved over time from a large, overgrown shrub, to a variety of plants including some transplanted azaleas, a dinosaur topiary and an assortment of experiments.  This time last year, my son wanted to turn the plot into a “hot tub” so he happily dug down as deeply as he could, before eventually abandoning the idea.

This past spring we planted a row of sunflowers, as close to the border as possible for maximum sunlight, then filled in the area behind them with a packet of wildflowers from our local nursery. The birds and squirrels helped themselves early on, leaving the earth pock-marked with overturned pockets of soil.  Here’s what survived:

Children's Garden