Green Animals Topiary Garden in Newport, Rhode Island, was the most whimsical and unique garden I’ve visited on the East Coast. Located along Narragansett Bay in a garden that’s existed for over a century, the nation’s oldest topiary garden celebrates plant art. It is such a lovely place to stroll during our most recent visit to Rhode Island. With seven acres to explore and 80 topiary animals, plus a special exhibition featuring Lego statues of native plants and pollinators and an abundance of colorful blooming flowers, this is a garden botanical enthusiasts won’t want to miss.
Green Animals Topiary Garden
Location: Portsmouth (Near Newport, Rhode Island)
Address: 380 Corys Lane
Portsmouth, RI 02871
Open Dates: May 26th – September 10th
Admission: $25 / adult
Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
(see hours here)
Handicap Accessible: Partially
(Dirt paths and parts are inaccessible to some due to stairs)
How to Reach Green Animals Topiary Garden
Our GPS guided us through Newport and into neighboring Portsmouth. It was a twenty-five-minute drive in light traffic, and parking at the garden was complimentary self-parking. It’s also very clearly marked. As far as I know, aside from ride-sharing, public transportation could bring people close to the garden, but that takes around an hour and a half.
The American Daffodil Society recognizes Green Animals Topiary Garden as one of only three official Daffodil Display Gardens along the East Coast. While no daffodils were blooming during our visit, it was still a lovely sight to behold.
Owned by The Preservation Society of Newport County, Green Animals Topiary Garden has numerous topiaries, from giraffes and chairs to planes, bears, and camels. There are 35 formal garden beds, multiple winding walkways, organic archways, and plenty of shady spots to sit and enjoy a picnic, a good book, or simply being with loved ones. There are nearly 40,000 tulips planted here each spring, but during our visit, lupine, dahlia, hibiscus, Solomon’s Seal, and dozens of other early summer flowers stole the show.
Entrance to Green Animals Topiary Garden is included in membership to the Preservation Society of Newport County and entrance to many mansions and great houses in Newport. We paid $160 to join for the both of us and in a single visit to a few of the mansions in Newport and this garden, it more than paid for itself. If you live in the area or are visiting for more than a day or two and want to see the mansions of Newport, I recommend getting a membership to save money and help support the preservation of these historic spaces.
Quick Facts About Topiaries
Topiary means ‘the art of clipping trees or shrubs into ornamental or decorative shapes,’ creating living sculptures that must regularly be maintained. Topiary gardens can trace their roots back to ancient Rome, as far back as when Julius Caesar was emperor. Strangely enough, after a decline in the 1800s in popularity, Disneyland helped make topiary gardens fashionable with Americans, and the practice gained traction worldwide, if the volunteer at the garden we spoke with is to be believed.
The topiaries here are pruned weekly by hand to maintain their shape, and many of the animals took two decades to reach their current sizes.
Why I Loved Visiting
This was such a beautiful garden with well-manicured topiaries, plenty of informational signs that educated visitors about the gardens, and a unique collection of herbs, flowers, and natural, organic archways and walkways. It was unlike any other garden I’ve ever visited.