From Academic Kids

A topiary  at
A topiary dinosaur at Epcot

Topiary is the art of creating sculptures in the medium of shrubbery, after the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, toparius. Examples may be found at, among other places, various Disney theme parks and the hotels on those properties and outside the Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park in New York. The title character in Tim Burton's movie Edward Scissorhands is lauded for his skill in the art; a real-life topiary artist is one of the subjects of Errol Morris's Fast, Cheap and Out of Control.

Common plants used in topiary include cultivars of boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), arborvitae, bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), holly (Ilex spp.), myrtle (Eugenia spp., Myrtus spp.), common yew (Taxus baccata), and privet (Ligustrum spp.). Plants used in topiary tend to be evergreen, have small leaves or needles, produce dense foliage, and have compact and/or columnar (e.g. fastigiate) growth habits.

Topiary dates from ancient Roman times and has historically been associated with the gardens and grounds owned by wealthy Europeans. Traditional topiary forms use foliage pruned and/or trained into geometric shapes: spheres known as "balls" or "globes", cubes, obelisks, pyramids, cones, spirals, and the like. Representational forms (e.g. depicting people, animals, manmade objects) have also been popular over the centuries.

The world's largest topiary is in Manipur, India measuring 19m (57ft) in height. It is a series of open umbrellas and spheres.

Missing image
Topiary garden in Tours, France.

Notable Topiary Displays in Europe

A premier topiary garden started in the late 17th century.
  • Hidcote Manor Garden ( (Gloucestershire, England)
  • Knightshayes Court ( (Devon, England)
  • Great Dixter Gardens ( (East Sussex, England)
  • Castello Balduino (Montalto Pavese, Italy)

Notable Topiary Displays in North America

100-year-old topiary garden of native white pine and arborvitae.
One of the oldest topiary gardens in the United States, Green Animals combines geometric and animal topiary with other formal ornamental features.
A topiary garden in Maryland established by award-winning topiary artist Harvey Ladew in the late 1930s. Located approximately halfway between the north Baltimore suburbs and the southern Pennsylvania border.
A public garden in downtown Columbus that features a topiary tableau of Georges Seurat's famous painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

See Also

History of gardening

This brontosaurus topiary on display at the Epcot Center was created by Topiary Art Works & Greenhouses, LLC in Clearwater, KS by Stefan Przystanski.[1] (


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