Admire the sculpted shrubbery in this whimsical garden.
In Portsmouth, Rhode Island, visitors young and old will enjoy the living sculptures in the Green Animals Topiary Gardens. Thomas Brayton (1844 - 1939) was the Treasurer of the Union Cotton Manufacturing Company in Fall River, Massachusetts. He bought the estate in 1872 with 7 acres of land, a white clapboard summer home, some outbuildings, a pasture, and a vegetable garden. Thomas Brayton hired a Portuguese gardener named Joseph Carreiro to begin creating the topiary garden. Along with his son-in-law, George Mendonca, they spent a combined 75 years managing the grounds on the estate.
The topiaries were created using gardening traditions from Portuguese and New England. They are sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood. Some of the topiaries are a century old. There are more than 80 topiaries throughout the grounds overlooking Narragansett Bay. Keep your eye out for the giant teddy bear, elephant, giraffe, camel, and unicorn. Thomas Brayton's daughter Alice gave the estate its name, "Green Animals," and made the home her permanent residence in 1939. When she died in 1972, at the age of 94, Alice Brayton left the entire estate to The Preservation Society of Newport County. Today, visitors can enjoy the topiaries, vegetable gardens, herb gardens, orchards, and the beautiful Victorian house. The home has the original Brayton family furnishings and is a sight to see. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds.