- Type: Culture
- Localyte author: Odyssey Tours Diego and Alvaro
- High in the mountains of Costa Rica, in the small town of Zarcero, sits a fancifully sculpted topiary garden in front of its picturesque little church: bushes shaped into gigantic green rabbits, monkeys, ox carts, elephants and more. The Zarcero Park topiary garden has been lovingly created by Don Evangelista Blanco, the park gardener, who clips and prunes the Cypress bushes and hedges, into a whimsical garden of amazing creatures. His exotic topiaries create a fantasy land to pass through with sixteen double-arches lining the walk to the elaborately adorned church of Zarcero. Blanco says that God has been telling him what to sculpt for the last 40 years. The highland clouds swirl and dance through the village and drizzling fog bathes everything in a soft diffused light... creating an enchanting mystique about the garden. There are towering arches, intricate mazes and mysterious hidden grottos forming natural hummingbird and butterfly gardens. The topiaries include towering elephants, a bull ring, complete with spectators, matador and charging bull, Christ, bearing his cross, birds and dancing creatures that seem to take on, a life of their own. Mystical dinosaurs and ancient astronauts. They have been shaped out of Cipres, (cypress) a common type of Conifer, that grows in higher elevations, around the country There are more than 100 topiaries. Enraptured children race around the more than a hundred juniper bushes sculpted and clipped into whimsical shapes. Evangelista Blanco Brenes created his fanciful garden in 1964, and he's been expanding it for the past 44 years. He delights in taking visitors on a tour, pointing out the giant rabbit, the helicopter, the airplane, the baskets, the monkey on a motorcycle, the dancing couple. There's a peacock, a dinosaur, an octopus, strange masks, Christ carrying a cross, and an oxcart - the Costa Rican national symbol. The local favorites are the 16 growing green arches leading to the Catholic church. Brenes' living sculptures require constant trimming and the snipping releases a wonderful fresh evergreen scent. "It takes a month to trim them all," says Brenes, "and when I'm finished, it's time to start over." With the eccentric topiary garden of Zarcero, the 64-year-old has found his life's calling, and his medium for sharing his philosophy. Scattered between the green shapes are hand-lettered signs such as "Persevere and you shall succeed", and "Dedicate yourself to love and peace".
- The description was provided by Odyssey Tours Diego and Alvaro
- Zarcero, Costa Rica
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