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See 8 Spectacular Topiaries Photographed in Florida + What Inspired Them

Updated on September 11, 2017
Peggy W profile image

The southern states have a charm all their own. From beaches to deserts there is a wide array of landscapes to please almost anyone!

En Plein Air Topiary at Cypress Gardens
En Plein Air Topiary at Cypress Gardens | Source

Displayed here will be eight different outdoor topiaries that were photographed in the State of Florida on various vacation trips enjoyed many years ago.

Those vacation trips were at different times of the year and were taken in two different locations.

I enjoyed getting to see the magnificent Cypress Gardens with my mother one year while we were on our way to visit an aunt and uncle of mine who used to live in Florida for a good part of every year.

The first four topiaries displayed here were in Cypress Gardens and the last four were taken at Walt Disney World.

En Plein Air Topiary

There were numerous imaginative and beautiful topiaries that my mother and I got to view when we visited the most spectacular Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida many years ago.

For those of you who missed seeing Cypress Gardens as it was, the location has since been turned into a Legoland.

See some En Plein Air Artwork created on the spot by James Gurney

The grounds were magnificent.

As we were walking along one of the paths adjacent to water we discovered this hoop skirted lady painting out in the open air which is the meaning of the French term: en plain air.

Of course since she was in topiary form, her painting reflected what a real hoop skirted lady might have been capturing on canvas, that of the natural scenery in front of her.

Painting outside on location where one can appreciate the natural light became very popular with many famous artists such as Degas, Claude Monet, August Renoir and Winslow Homer just to mention a few.

Those and other artists most often painted the everyday scenery whether it was fields with haystacks, boating scenes or people doing the mundane chores or celebrations of life.

There are numerous organizations of artists which still advocate that type of open air painting even today. Have you ever created any en plein air artwork?

Were you familiar with En Plein Air art?

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Bird and Basket Topiaries found at Cypress Gardens
Bird and Basket Topiaries found at Cypress Gardens | Source

Cypress Gardens Topiaries

The bird and basket topiary above as well as the horse drawn carriage with driver topiaries below were also viewed in Cypress Gardens.

I purposely disguised the two little girl's faces who were seated in the carriage.

They were both darling little girls and appeared to be sisters.

Horse Drawn Carriage Topiary photographed at Cypress Gardens
Horse Drawn Carriage Topiary photographed at Cypress Gardens | Source
Dancing bear topiary with trainer at Cypress Gardens
Dancing bear topiary with trainer at Cypress Gardens | Source

Circus Trainer with Dancing Bear Topiary at Cypress Gardens

Most of you know that topiaries are plants that are clipped and maintained to resemble certain designs and appearances. It takes lots of work to keep them in shape! They may be free form designs or ones made to look like people, animals or other recognizable configurations.

This duo of what was probably supposed to be a circus trainer and his dancing bear was at Cypress Gardens many years ago when my mother and I visited that fabulous site in Winter Haven, Florida.

I could have edited and cut out the people in the photo but purposely left them so that viewers could appreciate the size of these topiaries.

Bears performing in a circus with horses

Should wild animals be trained to perform in a circus?

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Swan topiary at Walt Disney World
Swan topiary at Walt Disney World | Source

Swan Topiary at Walt Disney World and Hans Christian Andersen

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a wondrous place because of all of the fabulous rides, restaurants and entertainment. It also has beautifully landscaped grounds which include a variety of plants including those trained into various topiary guises.

Whether one is interested in gardening or not this swan topiary and others sprinkled amidst the vast grounds is a delight to the eye.

Hans Christian Andersen in the year 1843 wrote the tale of a homely bird which was tormented by his fellow barnyard buddies for his appearance. Anyone familiar with the story of The Ugly Duckling knows that this harrowed bird turns out in the end to be a most beautiful swan.

Walt Disney took that fairy tale and created an animated black and white cartoon in 1931. That story was then made into Technicolor by 1939 winning that years Academy Award for the category of best short subject.

  • Did you know that swans typically mate for life?
  • Their youngsters are called cygnets and usually number from 3 to 8 in what is called a clutch.
  • They are among the largest of birds that fly and when in flight they are called a wedge.
  • On the ground a group of swans are called a bevy. Now don’t you feel a bit smarter today?

The Life of Swans (with gorgeous photography & music)

Mary Poppins Topiary

This creation of Mary Poppins is another one of the fabulous topiaries that we viewed on the wonderfully landscaped grounds located at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Anyone who has seen the 1964 movie of Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews (who won an Academy Award for her performance as best actress) would immediately recognize this carefully clipped topiary of the nanny holding her umbrella and suitcase.

Mary Poppins topiary at WDW
Mary Poppins topiary at WDW | Source

The fanciful tale was first told in a series of 8 books written by P. L. Travers. The Banks family needed a replacement nanny for their children. Mary Poppins is transported by a forceful wind to their very house at just the right moment in time and is hired.

She carefully tended the children and magically changed all of their lives until she felt as though she was no longer needed and another family needed her more. At that point she flew off into the wind using her umbrella above her catching the wind and guiding her to her next assignment.

Naturally there are many other cute elements to this story. Dick Van Dyke plays her friend Bert and the song “Chim Chim Cher-ee” is catchy and once heard is not easy to forget.

Are you familiar with the Movie Mary Poppins?

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs topiary at Walt Disney World
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs topiary at Walt Disney World | Source

Snow White and Seven Dwarfs Topiary

The cute fable of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is memorialized in a series of clever topiaries at Walt Disney World in central Florida. I took this photo many years ago when my mother, niece and I spent five days there taking in as many of the sites as we could in that allotted time.

Did you know that the animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1937 was actually based upon a German fairy tale? It is true! It was created by the Brothers Grimm.

Anyone who has ever seen that cute film with the beautiful Snow White is not likely to forget it.

There is the evil and jealous stepmother, the woodland creatures, the seven dwarfs and the kiss by a prince which awakens Snow White from a perpetual sleep after she bit into a poisoned apple.

That is quite a memorable tale!

The distinctive dwarf personalities perfectly suited their names which are the following:

  • Happy
  • Sleepy
  • Bashful
  • Dopey
  • Sneezy
  • Grumpy and
  • Doc.

Some days I can relate to some of those characteristics. How about you? Ha!

Walt Disney World Sea Serpent topiary
Walt Disney World Sea Serpent topiary | Source

Topiaries in Florida

There were many more topiaries at both locations than the eight featured here but this gives you some idea of the marvelous creations and work executed by the landscape ground workers at both places in Florida.

Do you enjoy seeing topiaries in your part of the world? Perhaps you even have some in your own garden?

I'll be looking forward to your comments!

Vote here for your favorite topiary from the 8 featured in this hub.

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Locations in Florida where these photos of topiaries were taken.

show route and directions
A markerCypress Gardens -
Winter Haven, FL, USA
get directions

B markerWalt Disney World -
Orlando, FL, USA
get directions

Have you ever tried your hand at creating or maintaining a topiary?

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© 2015 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

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    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello peachpurple,

      Those topiaries are certainly eye-catching! I agree.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      wow those garden landscapes are so beautiful and unique

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Suzanne,

      That horse and carriage topiary is indeed special. I am sure that it must have taken a while to not only dream up but also create to have its full effect as seen in the photo. Thanks for the share.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Great topiaries and I love the horse and carriage one - wonder how long it took for someone to trim it up as a sculpture like that? Voted awesome and shared ;)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Akriti Mattu,

      I will take it from that response that you enjoyed seeing these topiaries. :)

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Just wow.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Suzie,

      Both of those topiaries were fun to see as well as the others. I would also have to debate as to picking a favorite one. Glad you enjoyed reading this hub and seeing the photos.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Absolutely gorgeous photos Peggy. Love seeing all them and learning some info along the way. Hard to pick a favorite and was tied between snow white and the swan. Thanks for a magical trip around topiary in Florida, so artistic.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Vellur,

      The topiaries were fun to see in person. Glad to know that you enjoyed the photos as well as reading this hub.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      So beautiful! Amazing, you and your mother must have really enjoyed seeing these topiaries, thank you for sharing. Great photographs, enjoyed reading.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi georgescifo,

      Yes, maintaining topiaries takes constant dedication and effort after they are first created. Glad you liked the photos.

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 2 years ago from India

      Really amazing topiaries and the originality of these are something that catches the attention of everyone. This is an art that is indeed difficult to create and at the same time maintain for a longer period. Thanks for sharing these snaps from Florida.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Peg,

      There are quite a few topiaries in yards of private residences around the Houston area. It is fun seeing them when they are kept in good shape.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello faythef,

      Hope you get that chance to see them someday...or others that may have taken their place.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Amazing sculptures and captivating subjects. I love topiaries and always enjoy the art when visiting the theme parks. What a great job that would be to create and maintain these beautiful live works of art.

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 2 years ago from USA

      WoW..Beautiful..I would love to see some of these.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Roberta,

      Nice that you could revisit your "old stomping grounds" via this hub. :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this revisit to my old stomping grounds… WDW gardeners have always done an amazing job with the topiaries but Cypress Gardens was first! :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Susie (colorfulone),

      So glad you liked the subject matter of topiaries that I got to photograph in Florida. Appreciate the vote up and the shares.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      These are beautiful topiaries, and they sure do make an interesting subject for a beautiful hub, Peg. Pinned to rijalyn/united-states-of-america, tweeted and voted up!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      Nice that you have those memories of visiting Cypress Gardens with your parents and that still today you enjoy the topiaries at WDW. Thanks for the blessings of angels. We can all use their guidance and protection.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      O as a young girl I visited Cypress Gardens with my parents on many occasions as my Momma was such a lover of the beauties everywhere. The topiaries were always a favorite. And at WDW I am enthralled by them each time I visit....

      Thank you for sharing, Peggy.

      Hoping you can feel the Angels bringing you blessings and hugs today ps

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Thomasjames1992,

      Nice that you get to visit Florida frequently. The weather and the people are nice...I agree!

    • Thomasjames1992 profile image

      Thomas James 2 years ago from London

      Hey Peggy W

      Yep i visit Florida a lot actually love the weather and people

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kristen,

      So glad you liked these photos of the topiaries. :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Just beautiful photographs, Peggy. Thanks for sharing. Great hub, voted up!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Celebrates,

      It is hard to choose just one favorite from among the topiaries presented. I was just curious to see the results.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Blackspaniel1,

      Topiaries would take much care and attention to keep them in tip top shape. When not kept trimmed, they can become rather unsightly so that is undoubtedly the reason that they are not seen more frequently.

    • Celebrates profile image

      Celebrates 2 years ago

      I can't decide which one I like most, the sea serpent, horse drawn carriage or the woman painting. The Mary Poppin's one is great too.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello emmaouthworth,

      Florida is an amazing state with so much to offer its residents as well as visitors to that "Sunshine State."

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Audrey,

      So glad you liked these topiaries that I photographed in Florida. The Mickey Mouse topiary you remember from Disneyland must have been a good one! Thanks for your most complimentary comment and your shares. :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      Those beautiful hoop skirted dresses worn in Cypress Gardens were so pretty. Nice that you got to experience that with your girls. Your vets office with the topiaries sounds nice. Perhaps you could showcase them in a hub? Appreciate your comment + the share.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Thomasjames1992,

      Have you gotten to visit Florida often? I see you live in London. In any case glad you liked this hub about some of the topiaries found there.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

      These appear to take much talent. I have seen some around Disney, but they certainly are not plentiful.

    • emmaouthworth profile image

      Emma Southworth 2 years ago from Manchester

      Florida looks Awesome!!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Magnificent, Peggy! Thanks for this personal tour of such beautiful and glorious topiaries. The child in me voted for snow white and the seven dwarfs. I'll never forget the Mickey Mouse topiary at Disneyland, California. You continue to present amazing, unique hubs, true-to-life photos and super information.

      Voted up and across (not funny) and will do plenty of sharing. Thanks Peggy.

      Audrey

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      My hubby and I used to take our children to Cypress Gardens; it was so beautiful. I have treasured photos of my girls dressed up in those beautiful gowns they furnished little girls to wear for photos.

      My local Veterinarian has two topiaries outside his office: one is a large cat, and the other a large dog.

      Loved the visit down memory lane. Voted UP, etc. and shared.

    • Thomasjames1992 profile image

      Thomas James 2 years ago from London

      Great hub peggy! Love Florida

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ghaelach,

      I have seen Lake Constance but did not visit that island with all the topiaries. Sounds beautiful! Glad you learned the name of these beautifully shaped shrubs by reading this hub. I learn something new everyday! :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi poetryman6969,

      Yes, for those who loved the grandeur of Cypress Gardens, Legoland completely changes the atmosphere. Kids who grew up playing with legos probably love the new park.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rachel,

      Swans are such pretty birds and the swan topiary was indeed a nice one especially surrounded with those colorful plants and flowers. Glad you liked this.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Alicia,

      I have not been to Legoland and just hope that some of the lovely plants are still there. It is sad that Cypress Gardens no longer exists in that form. It was so lovely!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Gail,

      I think that is my favorite also although they are all nice and imaginative.

      Thanks for the share. I know that you enjoy featuring local artists. :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Martie,

      Yes, this is imagination at its best and also in its execution and maintenance to create and care for topiaries like this.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Larry,

      Glad you liked the photos. They were scanned into the computer from old photos from 35 mm film taken in years past.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 2 years ago

      Hi Peggy.

      I've seen these Topiaries in many different part of the world and being honest I never new they had such a name. I just thought they where sculptured hedges. Having said that, I once had a holiday in the south of Germany on the side of Lake Constance which boarders Switzerland, Austria and of course Germany. There is a small island in the lake called "Mainau." This small is known as the flower island and all very beautiful. There are also many wonderful creations of Topiaries of all shapes and sizes. Very beautiful.

      Ghaelach

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I love the fanciful plants of the topiary. I think we missed this we we lived in Altamonte Springs. They replaced it with a Legoland? I think that is a true loss.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      How beautiful. I especially loved the swan even though all the topiaries were beautiful. Thank you for sharing all of the pictures.

      Blessings.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The topiaries are lovely, Peggy. The people who created them were very skilful. What a shame that Cypress Gardens was demolished! The destruction of plants always saddens me.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 2 years ago from South Carolina

      Wow! Loved these whimsical and beautifully detailed topiaries! My favorite was the En Plein Air because it looked so real and I enjoy photographing the Plein Air artists who can sometimes be seen at the Delaware Beaches and historic towns, capturing specific moments in time.

      Voted this hub up and shared.

      Hugs,

      Gail

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Peggy, I found this hub very interesting and fascinating. Shaping a shrub into the figure of a human or animal can't be easy. Amazing art!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Beautiful photographs!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Virginia,

      Nice that you have seen these exact topiaries in person at both Cypress Gardens and WDW. :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 2 years ago from Central Florida

      We've enjoyed these very topiaries at Cypress Gardens and WDW. Glad you featured them here for others to see.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dolores,

      I did not see "The Shining" by Steven King and from what you said, I think I am glad. His books are scary and I am sure the movies patterned after the books are the same.

      I like that one of the artist also and find topiaries in general fascinating. They take lots of care to keep them in tip top shape.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patsy,

      Having gardeners to perform tasks like keeping topiaries in good form would be nice because if one could afford that, one could possibly also afford professional window washers; maids; kitchen staff; chauffeurs, etc. Now I am dreaming! Ha ha! Glad you had fun with this! :))

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Peggy, I found this on my share page and saw the beautiful topiary of the artist. I love it! The art of topiary fascinates me. Though I prefer real nature, I am in awe of the pruning techniques that create such whimsical forms. But every time I see one, I can't help but think of the topiary in Steven King's "The Shining."

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      Loved this hub. Just fun. And if I had a garden staff, I would have topiaries. ^+

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi aesta1,

      Interesting that Vietnam and Japan have so many interesting topiaries. Thanks for your comment. I know that this type of gardening form is certainly not limited to any one area. It just takes vision and expertise to keep it in good form.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      I agree that it is a shame that the long standing Cypress Gardens in all its natural beauty had to be converted into what it has become. There would e others who would obviously disagree with us. I would vote always for more natural beauty.

      Thanks for the pin. It is an up and down roller coaster of temperatures this time of year in Texas.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      These Florida topiaries are lovely. Yes, I have seen topiaries in many parts of Southeast Asia especially Vietnam. Japan has also some of the best.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Isn't it amazing what artists can do with greenery? I have seen similar topiary at Disney World in Florida. I can't remember if I saw it at Cypress Gardens, but it was beautiful there.

      I can't believe Cypress Gardens is now a Lego block thing, Legoland? Took it upon myself to do a quick search to see what Legoland looks like. I note a few of the trees have been allowed to stand, but all that beautiful green grass has been covered with concrete. It's an amusement park. What a shame to destroy all that natural greenery.

      Seems those humans in charge won't be happy 'til every square inch of this planet is covered either with asphalt or concrete.

      Anyway, love the topiaries you have pictured here. Already pinned them to various boards (the green one for sure) when they came through earlier today in the Pinterest feed, but will also pin this article to Awesome HubPages. Sharing too.

      We had 80 degrees on Saturday and then the cold front came through Sunday night. To remain in the deep freeze at night for another couple of nights. Glad you are warm down there.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      We cannot see them all...can we! So glad you liked this! :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Frank,

      That is high praise indeed! Thank you!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jackie,

      Glad you had some fun with this hub about Florida topiaries. The dancing bear is a good one to pick! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very spectacular, Peggy. Thanks for the tour of an area I probably will never see.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      this was indeed a welcoming eye full.. spectacular just isn't powerful enough, but we'll use it for now.. I find it filled with inspiration, Godly, and Faith.. it will be a memorable treasure.. great share my friend :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I couldn't pick just one; they are all so great! I did vote for the dancing bear though. Very interesting and a lot of fun! ^+