Art + Botany: Evangelisto Blanco's Topiary Garden

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Art + Botany: Evangelisto Blanco's Topiary Garden

November 21, 2011
08:46am
Photo by: Jamie Royer, Flickr

A small agricultural town in Costa Rica's mountain highlands, Zacero is known for organic farming, fruit preserves, and, for the last 50 years, its topiary garden. Landscape designer Evangelisto Blanco clipped the first sculpture in 1964. Today, the gardener still maintains his cypress bush garden—a whimsical cast that includes a dinosaur, octopus, giant rabbit, airplane, dancing couple, and an oxcart (the national symbol of Costa Rica). Situated in front of the town's pink and blue Iglesia de San Rafael, the famed topiary garden is also accented with hand-lettered signs that share Blanco's philosophy: "Persevere and you shall succeed," "No one is better than another," "Dedicate yourself to love and peace." The 67-year-old gardener tends his topiary garden with his signature mustache, fedora, and, of course, hedge clippers.

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Francisco Alvarado Park, Zarcero, Costa Rica. Photo credit: John Burnett

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Francisco Alvarado Park, Zarcero, Costa Rica. Photo credit: Brian Costales

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Francisco Alvarado Park, Zarcero, Costa Rica. Photo credit: Brian Costales

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Francisco Alvarado Park, Zarcero, Costa Rica. Photo credit: Brian Costales

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Francisco Alvarado Park, Zarcero, Costa Rica. Photo credit: Flickr user mattgriess

Anna Laurent is a writer and producer of educational botanical media. Photographs from her forthcoming field guide to Los Angeles are available for exhibition and purchase at the author's shop.

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