If you want topiary, go to Samia Rose Topiary. Patricia Riley Hammer, the owner, literally wrote the book on topiary (The New Topiary: Imaginative Techniques From Longwood Gardens, Garden Art Press, 1991, $39.95, in its 4th printing).
You can buy finished topiaries, rent some incredible topiary plants such as a full-sized French maid and English butler, or buy the supplies to make your own topiaries.
Samia Rose is the one that collaborates with the Wild Animal Park to make the life-size zebra, hyena, rhino, jaguar you may have seen at the Wild Animal Park, the Del Mar Fair, or the San Diego Home and Garden Show. They supplied the topiary elephants for the Republican Convention in San Diego in 1996.
Patricia Hammer got her start at Longwood Gardens (11,000 plants on 1,050 acres including 20 indoor gardens near Philadelphia, PA) when Longwood Gardens began to do topiary. After 15 years at Longwood, she decided to do topiary fulltime and moved to Encinitas. After having a small shop on Highway 101 next to a coffee shop which did not do well, she moved to 10,000 sq. ft. in her present location and is about to expand by another 10,000 sq. ft.
The most popular topiary are angels and animals.
The life-size English butler is complete with gray hair and tuxedo front. The butler and French maid sell for $3,600 each, or rent for $100 / day plus transportation charges.
Samia Rose is located at 1236 Urania Ave., Encinitas. Hours: 9-5 Tuesday through Saturday; Noon to 4 Sunday. 760-436-0460. Check out their web site for beautiful pictures of their creations.
Source: NCT 3/11/99, E1, E2; and a previous story in 1996.
Copyright © 1999 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 11 March 1999.