I love the look of a miniature grove of trees in my home, and so I really enjoy my cluster of Myrtle Topiary bushes. Their distinctive shape and green leaves are a joyful reminder of Mother Nature all year long. Lots of people who visit me ask how I keep mine looking good all year. So this week’s sMARt tip is all about the decorative Myrtle Topiary and how to best keep them alive in our homes through the winter months.

Myrtle Topiaries need fairly frequent watering, and need to stay above 50 degrees — but not too hot. Extreme heat and cold drafts wreak havoc on these plants. My sMARt tip is “Out of sight, out of mind!”

The key to a successful relationship with your Myrtle Topiary is the right location in your home: one that offers bright indirect light and facilitates a consistent watering schedule. A kitchen window, a bathroom countertop or a bright sunny laundry room all offer the ideal location in your home, as ready access to water and frequent use of the room makes it easiest for you to give your Myrtle Topiary the attention it needs.

Never let the soil completely dry out — be vigilant. Good drainage is important; soil should be damp but not stay wet. The easiest way to ensure your watering efforts are maximized is to put a decorative coat of moss on the surface of the soil, surrounding the trunk. It will serve as a sponge, absorbing water, while also keeping soil most.

Should you need to be away from your Myrtle Topiary it’s best to place it in a reservoir of water — like a pasta pot — filled with about two inches of water. This sMARt tip works every time; as the plant requires water it will pull it up from its base. How much water? For every day that you are away, add and additional å_ inch of water. That measurement is for one plant, so add an extra inch of water for two plants, one and a half extra inches for three, etc.

To maintain the Myrtle Topiary’s interesting shape, turn it every few days; this promotes equal new growth throughout the plant. If you want to trim it, use sharp pruning shears to keep the leaves well trimmed to honor the original design.

With the proper maintenance, you too can enjoy the pleasures of your own elegant topiary for years to come. Where will visions of your own personal miniature forest take you?