May 26, 2005 - (Fort Wayne, IN 11/05/04)

Topiary

By Eric Olsen

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 8, 2007 at 10:20 AM EST

You know the old saying 'art imitates nature'.
There is a place out in 21Country where art and nature come together.

It is the first thing to hit your eye as you drive in to Fort Wayne's Canterbury Green Apartment Complex.

It's a corner of 21Country that looks like it popped out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Wes Gilbert, with Canterbury Green Apartments says, “It's a peaceful area. There's nothing like it in Fort Wayne. It's one of the largest gardens actually in the state.”

They call it Serenity Gardens and it is a quiet spot...a peaceful hillock dotted with the strangest shapes that could possibly grow...spiney, spidery octopus's, giant chickens, trees and shrubs that look like they sprouted and grew in heavily radioactive soil.

These are topiary bushes, and they have a story to tell that's every bit as interesting as their looks.

It begins 52 years ago in Laporte Indiana, in the backyard of Casimer Boyan, an engineer who liked to sculpt and coax growing bushes into odd shapes.

Cas had forty topiary bushes on his property, and when he retired he spent months looking for just the right spot to move them to.

Canterbury Green Apartments answered his ad, and in the fall of 1992, the plants were dug up, bound up and shipped by semi to 21Country.

Gilbert says, “We worked with the university to create a design on how we were going to place each plant because Cas wanted to make sure they faced the same direction they faced in his yard to continue that great growth.”

Cas and his wife actually moved to Canterbury Green to supervise the transplant, and teach apartment groundskeepers just how to care for his creations.

Most of these sculptures are more than one plant.

The thirty foot long dinosaur, for instance, is three bushes planted side by side and sculpted into one beast.

Each bush is heavily trimmed once a year, and then clipped with scissors a few times during the summer.

Canterbury Green puts a premium on landscaping.

In fact, the complex has earned best landscaping in the state honors seven of the last ten years from Indiana's apartment association...thanks in large part to this little spot, the Martian garden, some call it…whose ability to inspire and delight appears to be withstanding, quite well, the test of time.




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