Green Animals???

It’s not Green Eggs and Ham and it’s not a little green man from Mars. So what are Green Animals. Maybe they’re cookies with green icing? Or did some weird pet owner dye their pet’s fur for St. Patrick’s Day?


No, none of the above.

The Green animals aren’t even small. In fact they’re kind of tall..ha ha, couldn’t resist a little Seussism.

Seriously, Green Animals refers to the Green Animal Topiary Gardens in Portsmouth, RI.

I bet it’s been 30 years since I was there so with only a few hours to spare I thought it might be nice to see if it was still around. What a silly concern.

The Green Animal Topiary Gardens have been around for years. It started it’s life as a small country estate known as Green Animals.

It sits on a hill overlooking beautiful Narragansett Bay. The original homestead consisted of seven acres  of land and a classic white clapboard summer residence, some farm outbuildings, a pasture and a vegetable garden.

The property was purchased in 1872 by Thomas E. Brayton of Fall River, Ma. His daughter Alice Brayton inherited the little estate and made it her permanent residence in 1940. Upon her death in 1972 she left Green Animals to The Preservation Society of Newport County.

 Today, Green Animals is a rare example of a self-sufficient  estate. It combines  formal topiary, vegetable gardens, and former orchards. There is a museum in the clapboard home that is open to tours.

The Gardener responsible for creating most of the  formal gardens was Joseph Carreiro. He was in charge from 1905-1945. His son-in-law, George Mendonca took over in 1945 and remained in charge until his retirement in 1985. The gardens and topiary are now cared for by the Preservation Society Staff.

So with a history like that, how could I possibly think that it might not be there anymore, even if it has been 30 years?

Topiary gardening is a true art form..

 It’s the fashioning of living plants into shapes of animals or geometric figures. The art has been practiced for centuries.

There are topiary at Disney World in Orlando.

There are more than 80 different pieces of topiary at Green Animals. As I wandered the paths on this lovely sunny, warm summer afternoon I kept thinking this must be what the gardens were like in Alice in Wonderland.

I didn’t stay for the 5 pm tour of the house. I had come down to see the gardens and I enjoyed myself completely.

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