Sunday, September 20, 2015

Visiting Philadelphia--Ladew Topiary Garden

It's a vegetable dog! topiary, Ladew Garden

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, Ladew Garden

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.

topiary, Ladew Garden

topiary, Ladew Garden

The guide said the swans on the hedge below--and they are part of the hedge, cut into swan shapes--were the result of a cutting error by Mr. Ladew. He responded to whatever it was he did by creating a row of swans, instead of what he was planning. Looking at topiary, it is hard to remember how easy it is to make a mistake that will take years to grow out. 

swan topiary, Ladew Garden

My photos don't begin to show all the topiary. I walked around about noon, which is a particularly difficult time for getting good photos. 

Isn't the piper wonderful?!
topiary, Ladew Garden

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.

topiary, Ladew Garden

Although the Ladew Garden is known for its topiary, there is a lot more. Some plants had lovely natural shapes.
Ladew Garden

The day I was there was hot and humid. While that was hard on garden visitors, the pollinators loved it. I saw and photographed

monarch butterflies

butterfly, Ladew Garden

various bees
bee, Ladew Garden

(there are a lot of bumblebees on this phlox: I count four) 

bees, Ladew Garden

 and swallowtails

A terrific place!

Kathy Keeler

1 comment:

  1. Those are great photos! I did not even know that Philadelphia had topiary gardens like that! I will have to make it a point to visit next time I am in that area. Topiary gardens are so amazing and the background you provided on them was really interesting. Thanks for the cool post!