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Topiary Folly, 2013-2014

view Topiary Folly, 2013-2014 digital asset number 1
Former owner:
Robinson, Stewart, Mrs.
Devins, Harry
Devins, Harry Mrs
Woodland designer:
Smith, Elise Keely
Gardening services:
Vaccaro, Michele
Garden Club of Allegheny County
Physical description:
1 folder+ 13 digital images
Mixed archival materials
United States, Pennsylvania, Allegheny, Sewickley
Topiary Folly (Sewickley, Pennsylvania)
The fenced one-acre property had a sloping terraced garden on three levels with a woodlands in back and a circa 1955 house with French-influenced styling. The holly foundation hedge was diseased, an arbor vitae hedge had grown out of bounds, the perennials and flowering shrubs on the terraces had become unsightly, and the woodlands, which were populated by deer, needed clearing and shaping. The first project was the woodlands: a meandering path and brick seating area were installed and the cleared understory was replanted with azaleas, rhododendrons and oak leaf hydrangeas. Below the woodlands a 30 by 60 feet open space was a trial area for roses and hydrangeas but now is planted with a circle of clipped boxwood surrounding yellow roses and an antique iron urn, with an outer circle of clipped white azaleas surrounding topiary balls.
The three terraces are marked off by low dry stone walls and feature alternating shapes of topiary boxwood and arbor vitae in beds approximately 100 feet long, separated by gravel paths. Occasional statues and planted containers enhance the formality of the terrace garden. At the end of these rows there is a rose arbor that marks the beginning of another garden, perpendicular to the terraces, that has more topiary shapes, roses, perennials and occasionally annuals planted in rows. In front of the house the foundation beds are planted with various shaped topiary, too.
Persons associated with the garden include: Mrs. Stewart Robinson (former owner, 1955-1974); Mr. and Mrs. Harry Devins (former owners, 1974-2006); Elise Keely Smith (woodland designer, 2006); Michele Vaccaro (gardening services, 2006).
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
The Garden Club of Allegheny County facilitated the submission of this garden's documentation.
The folder includes worksheets and a photocopy of an article.
Garden has been featured in "Garden Tours Blooming around Region" by Jane Miller, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, June 7, 2013
Garden has been featured in "A Collector's Eye" by Marylynn Uricchio, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Fall 2016
Repository Loc.:
Smithsonian Gardens, Smithsonian Institution, PO Box 37012, Capital Gallery, Suite 3300, MRC 506, Washington, DC 20013-7012
Local number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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