Flamboyance!

A Topiary Menagerie

Image from Franklin Park Conservatory's presentation

Saturday, April 1, 2023 to Sunday, June 25, 2023

The pink flamingo—an iconic garden motif that is unquestionably Floridian. In the Museum’s first ever horticultural exhibition, 50 topiary flamingos planted with pink flowering begonias will take over the Museum’s historically significant gardens, providing a fun, ironic, and whimsical riff on the classic garden ornament. Posed in groups throughout the gardens and grounds, the flamingos are a playful juxtaposition against the formality of our gardens, inviting visitors to experience the landscape through a new lens of color and creativity. 

The ancient art of topiary—the artful pruning and shaping of plants into decorative shapes—dates to the first century C.E. The fantastical style of topiary on display during Flamboyance was pioneered by the Walt Disney Company in the 1960s, when the company began utilizing steel mesh frames wrapped over metal support structures in the shapes of animals, including Disney characters. The steel mesh structures are planted with fast-growing plants that can achieve the desired effect in far less time than traditional topiary art.

The flamingos are on loan from the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. They are planted with begonias and grown for display by Museum horticulturists and volunteers.