They’re whimsical and imaginative, artful and sculptural…topiary gardens take many shapes and sizes. The precisely sheared shrubs and trees seem to come to life. Recently though, topiary gardening has morphed into something even more magical: Mosaiculture. These public works of horticultural art, often several stories high, encompass wire frames that act as colossal planters filled with potting mix, thousands of colorful plants, and sometimes even irrigation systems…these are the divas of the plant world.
Some of my favorites include:
The Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, GA: Their Imaginary Worlds exhibit is “a menagerie of magical creatures that casts an enchanting spell over the Garden with 28 monumental living sculptures of fantasy and delight”. This first Mosaiculture exhibit in the United States will be on view until Halloween.
Sculptor Jeff Koons‘ 40-foot tall “Puppy” is composed of stainless steel, tons of soil, geotextile fabric, an internal irrigation system, and tens of thousands live flowering plants. This pup is a world traveler too, with the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain now serving as its permanent home. See more of the artist’s work here.
Some of the tough plants used in Mosaiculture include perennials: Carex, sedum, creeping thyme, oregano, dichondra, santolina, echeveria, iresine and alternanthera. Colorful annuals include: zinnia, impatiens, bidens, daisies and scaevola. Learn more about Mosaiculture from the Montreal, Canada nonprofit organization that conjured up this amazing concept.
A mix of living topiary art and contemporary design:
Urban Garden Room by Margie Ruddick, Dorothy Ruddick and WRT: Four larger-than-life, award-winning horticultural sculptures create a serene ambiance in the 60-foot high atrium at the LEED platinum Bank of America tower at One Bryant Park, NYC. Carefully constructed forms covered with ferns, mosses and vines provide a vital connection to nature in this urban environment. (photo by Cait Oppermann)
Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, Bishopville, South Carolina: Now in its 4th decade, this garden is comprised of 400+ shrubs skillfully sculpted by a self-taught man named Pearl. Using many compost pile castaways from local nurseries, Pearl’s garden is “one man’s firm belief in the results of positive thinking, hard work, and perseverance, and his dedication to spreading a message of love, peace and goodwill.”
Some of the shrubs and trees used in traditional topiary gardens include: yews, boxwood, privet, holly and juniper.