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Green Animals Topiary Garden sets its annual plant sale

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Green Animals welcomes spring with their annual plant sale.

Annuals, perennials, lilies, dahlia tubers, geranium standards, hanging baskets and a variety of vegetables, herbs and specialty plants will be available for purchase. Green Animals Topiary Garden is located at 380 Corys Lane, in Portsmouth.

The sale will take place each day before Green Animals opens for tours. The sale begins on Friday, which is not a tour day. Saturday will be the first day open for tours. Tickets or Preservation Society membership will be required for anyone wishing to tour Green Animals after the property opens at 10 am.

May 10 – 12, 20248 am -10 am

  • Admission free for plant sale only. Visitors will need a ticket or Preservation Society membership to tour the topiary garden.
  • This event is rain or shine.

A lion, giraffe & bears … and thousands of flowers in bloom

Imaginations run wild at Green Animals Topiary Garden for all members of the family. Green Animals invites you to bring a picnic basket and enjoy the menagerie at this lush country estate. You can find a camel, unicorn, lion, bears, and more among the carefully and creatively “carved” greenery.

Green Animals is the oldest topiary garden in the nation, boasting more than 35 formal flowerbeds, geometric pathways, arbors, fruit trees, and vegetable and herb gardens.

Thirty-seven thousand tulips contribute a rainbow of colors during the early spring. Late-spring perennials like columbine, lupine and coral bells give way to summer annuals, hydrangeas, daylilies and countless more unique specimens. In the fall, highlights include late-blooming mums, asters, daisies, dahlias and more.

History of Green Animals

This small country estate was purchased in 1872 by Thomas E. Brayton (1844-1939), Treasurer of the Union Cotton Manufacturing Company in Fall River, Massachusetts. It consisted of seven acres of land, with a white clapboard summer residence, farm outbuildings, a pasture and a vegetable garden. Gardener Joseph Carreiro, superintendent of the property from 1905 to 1945, and his son-in-law, George Mendonca, superintendent until 1985, were responsible for creating the topiaries.

Carreiro was recruited to design and maintain ornamental and edible gardens as part of a self-sufficient estate. Besides planting fruit trees, perennial beds and vegetable gardens, he experimented with trimming some fast-growing shrubs into unique forms. The first topiaries were started in the estate’s greenhouse in 1912 and later moved.

Mr. Brayton’s daughter, Alice, gave the estate its name because of the profusion of “green Animals.” She made it her permanent residence in 1939. Miss Brayton was an avid gardener and loved to entertain. She hosted a party for Jacqueline Bouvier (Kennedy) in her debut season and for years entertained young Caroline and John Kennedy Jr. at parties to celebrate the harvest. She also welcomed the Eisenhower family when they were in Newport, and regularly allowed the public to enjoy the grounds. Upon her death in 1972, at the age of 94, Miss Brayton left Green Animals to The Preservation Society of Newport County. Today, Green Animals remains as a rare example of a self-sufficient estate combining formal topiaries, vegetable and herb gardens, orchards and a Victorian house overlooking Narragansett Bay.

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