HANDMADE : Garden Variety

FOR A PRICE, Lynn Behney of Wire Works in Riverside will train a life-size man to stand in front of your house with his hand raised in a waving gesture. Or she'll make you a galloping horse, a small dog or just about anything else you'd like to see in topiary.

Behney, a former sculptor, converted her talents to this garden art and now makes elaborate structures using poultry netting, wire and a pair of wire cutters. The shrubbery then grows through the spaces and is kept clipped to the contours.

Garden possibilities include not only people and animal forms but abstracts and functioning fountains. Apartment dwellers are by no means eliminated from the action. For patios and balconies, she creates potted creatures that range from a 12-inch baby bear ($60) to a 4-foot kangaroo ($175). She also makes elephants, frogs, mice and pagodas.

It's a little less expensive to buy only the frame. A mouse structure, for instance, is $95. Planted and potted, it would sell for $120. Behney also fills custom orders.

Wire Works, 11312 Price Court, Riverside 92503; (714) 359-5404.

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