In early September I took a tour of Philadelphia featuring gardens (Road Scholar link). Here is a look at Ladew Topiary Garden.
Henry Ladew (1887-1976) loved fox hunting and managed to fox hunt in the United States and England every year for decades. He purchased a home in Monkton, Maryland in 1929 and spent fifty years arranging things. He was very influenced by gardens he saw in England. My pictures feature the topiary, but the garden also has "rooms" where all the flowers are iris, or white or pink, really fun to see. (And, as with any garden, different seasons can be dramatically different.)
The signature topiary, a fox hunt. My photo only captures part of it: there is a second rider. (I don't have a closer picture: the fox, dogs, rider and fence are all shaped plants.)
Topiary is made by pruning trees, particularly yews (Taxus baccata) into the desired shape. Yews are preferred because they grow slowly, so they will hold the shape. That characteristic is a disadvantage to the garden because if a yew dies, it will be decades before the replacement is big enough to shape.
Isn't the piper wonderful?!
The Chinese junk reminds one that these are living plants! All summer, they put up new leaves and shoots, fuzzing the lines of the topiary. Ladew staff are continuously trimming to keep the sculptures neat.
Although the Ladew Garden is known for its topiary, there is a lot more. Some plants had lovely natural shapes.
The day I was there was hot and humid. While that was hard on garden visitors, the pollinators loved it. I saw and photographed
(there are a lot of bumblebees on this phlox: I count four)
A terrific place!