Historic Places

The Green Animals Topiary Garden (My Newport Adventures)

Green Animals topiary garden
Some of the Green Animals!

Brayton Hall, the Brayton family’s former home, is located about 20 minutes outside Newport in the nearby town of Portsmouth.  The primary attraction of this site isn’t the house, but the garden, popularly known as the Green Animals Topiary Garden. It has more than 80 topiaries shaped of like animals and objects alongside may other trees and flowers. My favorite topiaries were the owl, the teddy bears, and the T-Rex. The throne-shaped topiaries were pretty cool, too. Owner Thomas Brayton and his daughter Alice, who lived here until the 1970s, employed master gardeners to maintain the animals. The Preservation Society does the same thing, and I got to see their gardeners at work clipping topiaries during my visit.

Brayton Hall, the main house, is also open to walk through, but there are no tours. It is very old-fashioned and cluttered, but it is also comfortable-looking. Alice Brayton, who seems to have been something of an eccentric, was also enthusiastic about dogs, toys, and doll houses. The walls of her home are hung with beautiful paintings of her topiaries.

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