Topiaries are an ancient gardening art form and not one you come across every day. But one U.S. city has 22 acres filled with 150 curiously shaped shrubbery plants.
The Ladew Topiary Gardens is located in Monkton, Maryland, and was created by Harvey S. Ladew in the 1930s. He converted a portion of farmland into gardens with the help of local farmers.
Ladew was a well-traveled man who was wealthy from birth. His love of foxhunting prompted him to buy Pleasant Valley Farm in November 1929. He was also passionate about gardening and spent his days integrating what he saw in Europe into his home.
Throughout the rest of his life he created 15 “garden rooms,” each with its own theme. He used metal frames for his topiary art and the plants would grow up through, and around, the frames. The hemlock topiaries are only trimmed once a year while the rest are trimmed from the end of June until late summer.
The gardens opened to the public in 1971 and are now managed by a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to maintain and promote the gardens, house and facilities in keeping with the creative spirit of Harvey S. Ladew for the public benefit and for educational, scientific and cultural pursuits.”
One of the most iconic features of Ladew Topiary Gardens is the the foxhunt, which features a horseman, several hounds and a fox. Other topiaries that can be found throughout the gardens include swans, a salmon on a platter and a butterfly on a flower.
Four full-time gardeners, along with several part-time workers and volunteers, ensure the topiaries are maintained properly.
Approximately 30,000 visitors flock to the gardens each year. It was named one of the top 10 topiary gardens in the world by Architectural Digest in 2012.
Ladew Topiary Gardens plays host to 80 events throughout the year and also offers nature walks and a butterfly house for its guests to explore.