“But if you had regular hands
you'd be like everyone else
~ Edward Scissorhands
On my walk to the Thurber house, which I still haven’t written about, I stumbled upon this park. And let me tell you, I was a bit peeved that none of my friends (and it seems like nearly half are from the Ohio area) told me about this place. While everyone named a zillion places to see, they failed to mention The Topiary Garden in Deaf School Park. This is significant for two reasons: everyone knows that I love odd little gardens; and, well, I have a pretty strong connection to Deaf people and Deaf culture!
Regardless, the universe made sure I found this enchanted place…albeit in the rain; but heck, the topiary characters have umbrellas and so did I!
The Topiary Garden is a landscape of a painting of a landscape. Time to get meta, y’all. The artist James T. Mason had the idea for a topiary garden based on the Post- Impressionist painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte” by George Seurat.
First, here is a quick back history. The land belonged to the former site of the Ohio Deaf School established in 1829; hence the old Deaf school reference in the name. As the Ohio School for the Deaf grew, it actually changed locations. In 1982, buildings of the Old Deaf School were destroyed in a fire and the land was listed as a historic landmark.
The park opened in 1992. Mason created the bronze topiary cages out of bronze which were set in concrete. He even helped in planting some of the shrubs. The topiaries actually decrease in size as they go farther back in the picture to create depth. There are 80 topiaries, including 54 people, 8 boats, 3 dogs, 1 monkey, and 1 cat.