Friday, May 23, 2014

Sculptures That Literally Live And Breathe

Today we went to visit the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  It's part of The Preservation Society of Newport County and part of the tours included in the membership.

The house, overlooking Narragansett Bay, was purchased by Thomas E. Brayton in 1872 and used as the summer home for his wife and four children.  They turned it into quite a showplace.

The 7-acre estate is the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States.  It contains over eighty pieces of topiary in addition to formal flowerbeds, rose and grape arbors, fruit trees, herb and vegetable gardens, a bamboo maze and prize-winning dahlias.

The day was a little overcast as it's been threatening rain for two days.  The clouds were rolling in and the sky getting dark so we made our way through the gardens first, before touring the house.  The gardens were the real star anyway.

The gardener responsible for creating the topiaries was Joseph Carreiro, an immigrant from the Azores.  He was assisted by his son-in-law, George Mendonca.  George and Joseph Carreiro's daughter, Mary, were married for 72 years and died one day apart.  Him on February 1, 2011 at 101 years old and her on February 2, 2011 at 93 years old.
I've never seen anything like it in my life.  Trees carved into all kinds of shapes and objects, animals of all kinds; a camel, an elephant, a giraffe, unicorn.  And these two fabulous bears.

Most of the flowers were not in bloom yet, but we did see a few turning from buds to blooms.  The summer is really when everything comes in and the staff told us that since they had such a cold winter and a late start to spring, everything was coming in later than usual.  I can only imagine how beautiful it will be once everything is in full bloom.  Maybe we'll have the chance to go back.

After we finished walking the garden and touring the house, we went for delicious grilled shrimp and scallops at Evelyn's Drive-In, a place from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  After that, we went for coffee at the nearby Moose Cafe.  A nice, leisurely day.

And the rains never came.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Pinged

2012: Adventure To Adventure
2011: The Mixing Of The Bitter And The Sweet
2010: A Great Start To A Weekend In New York
2009: Sing Sing Singin’ The Incarceration Blues
2008: Flame Sandwich
2007: Contradiction
2006: Every Eight To Twelve Seconds
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

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