Topiary is generally a garden art form of the staid, the establishment. For that reason, when I started my Quirky Berkeley walking in 2012 I was determined to inventory, photograph, and present all topiary in Berkeley. My thought was that the conventional is unconventional-slash-quirky in Berkeley. The world upside-down.
As was the case with some of my other Original Intentions, such as non-Doric columns and prickly pear cactus and banana trees, I cut my losses and ran. Too many. Not as quirky as I thought. A good run beats a bad stand.
But then there are the truly quirky topiaries. I couldn’t really ignore them, could I? Such as this, on Arlington (and – please – pay attention – it is not The Arlington – it is just Arlington):
Quirky, no? On top of this, I have found and/or been shown six other undeniably quirky topiaries. What to do? Are six enough? I was stuck. I didn’t know. I asked for a legal opinion. I got it. I agree. Six are enough. An then I found more. So here are what I have so far.
First, close to my house, just below Live Oak Park, near the Hog Farm compound, is this giraffe:
On Milvia just north of Rose:
The very famous bunny hedge on Ward Street near San Pablo Park:
And the Carleton Street squirrel:
And the most recently discovered – this tired horse right in front of my nose, on Sacramento near North Berkeley BART:
Even more bedraggled are two topiaries on Glen just north of Eunice, what appear to be a Scotty and a teddy bear. Past their prime, but wonderful.
I missed two great topiaries on Peralta. As you see in the comment section below, Nina Z. steered me to 1326 Peralta where Len Kamp has made a great giraffe and even trickier elephant.
And, finally – on campus. On the front lawn of University House, the official residence of the Berkeley chancellor, there is a topiary clock, gifted to the University from the University of Geneva.
Kinda quirky, no? Let’s add a little tear gas:
When I asked my friend about these photos, he recoiled. This is what he thought of: