Variety of Gardens The Ledew Topiary Gardens

About the different varieties of gardens, description of the the Ledew Topiary Gardens with its hedge animals and sculptures.

A STROLL THROUGH THE GARDEN

A Topiary Garden

A sculptor with a penchant for greenery created one of the world's most unusual garden spots, the Ledew Topiary Gardens, in Harford County, Md. Topiary is the art of training and trimming bushes and trees into fanciful shapes. Horticulturists admit it's not for everybody. But it was for Harvey Ledew.

Born of a blue-blooded Long Island family, Harvey Smith Ledew had all the requisites for becoming a great gardener: time, money, and a taste for the exotic. As a young man he crossed the desert sands with Lawrence of Arabia, dined on snails in Paris with Colette, and inspected battleships with the Prince of Wales. Once he decided to settle down, he chose a magnificent tract of land about 30 mi. north of Baltimore, where he spent the last 50 years of his life tending his garden.

Ledew trimmed long rows of hedges into waves crested by graceful swans. Beneath his pruning shears, yews became pyramids; box-woods yielded cones, spheres, and spirals, crowned with squirrels and roosters to guard the gateways. Some of the larger pieces on Ledew's grounds include a 6-ft. puppy, a 10-ft. Buddha, a mammoth fox hunt complete with hedge hounds and horsemen, and a leafy Chinese junk (difficult to keep trimmed, the attendants complain, because it "floats" at the middle of a wading pond). By far the most extravagant topiaries grow in Ledew's shooting gallery: a unicorn, a lyrebird, a sea horse, a heart and arrow, a top hat, and even Churchill's V for victory, all from trained shrubbery.

Ledew died in 1976 and left his unusual topiaries to the public.

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