These fanciful works of horticultural art have been around for centuries. Some of the best can be found in national parks, botanical and sculptural gardens and even Disneyland. We thought it would be fun to round up images of our favorite animal topiaries (including the iguana above), along with some fun facts to share and hopefully bring a smile to your face.
First grown outdoors by the Romans, topiary is the art of training perennial plants into three-dimensional ornamental objects.
Pruned topiaries are essentially herbaceous plants or shrubs that are pruned and trained into geometric or whimsical shapes.
English ivy, creeping fig, jasmine, creeping jenny and grape ivy are some of the easiest vines to train on frames, while boxwood, yews and hollies are good choices for shrubs.
The art of topiary most likely evolved over a period of time from the necessary trimming, pruning and training of trees.
Fat doves and elongated peacocks returned to fashionable manor house gardens in the late nineteenth century, and topiary became a garden design essential.
Shaped wire cages are sometimes used in modern topiary but traditional topiary depends on using special scissors and a practiced hand.
Bonsai is a form of topiary. During the 16th century in Europe, traditional topiaries included geometric shapes: balls, pyramids, cones and spirals.
Considered living works of art, topiary got its name from the Latin word for ornamental landscape gardener.
In the 20th century, Walt Disney used topiaries in the form of his cartoon characters to decorate his theme parks.
Azaleas tolerate pruning into mounded, dome, stone or cloud-shaped topiaries and come in a wide range of colors, including white, red, pink and purple.
By the turn of the 20th century, Americans had incorporated topiaries in their gardens.
The frame used to create a topiary, may be stuffed with sphagnum moss and then planted, or it can be placed around shrubbery. The sculpture slowly transforms into a permanent topiary as the plants fill in the frame.