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#23 - Topiary

#23 - Topiary

Snowy Garden Topiary
Price: $12,000 per night

Rich people love topiary. These artful and ornamental cut trees and shrubberies decorate the expansive estates of the wealthy. You may think it is the aesthetics that the rich love and while this is important, topiary acts to remind the help that they are worth less to their employers than the perfectly sculpted greenery they maintain around the garden. What is it about these living works of art that are so appealing to the upper class? Nothing says opulence like spending an average man’s salary on lawn ornaments that must be maintained by…well, an average man.

The popularity of topiary has ebbed and flowed throughout the centuries but it suffered a significant blow in the late nineties. The blame; Edward Scissorhands and while ice sculptures thrived and pirates have hardly been kept down by more recent Johnny Depp features, topiary has had to work hard to comeback. Only in the past five years has topiary redeemed itself as an in vogue passion of the wealthy. Sighted again in 2004 during New York City holiday party season, a “Big Bank” rented extravagant topiary displays for upwards of $12,000 for the evening. Not to be outdone, Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev reportedly paid over $40,000 for a bush that adorns his $70 million dollar London mansion. By the way, do not erroneously introduce billionaires; it can ruin a good party.

To ensure that you are capable of building superficial relationships with the fabulously rich around you, learn a few facts about this lavish garden accoutrement. Speak about Cneius Matius Calvena, the father of topiary, a former pal of Julius Caesar and the second unpronounceable name cited by SRPL today. Admonish Alexander Pope and his essay, Verdant Sculpture, published in the 18th century which ridiculed topiary as a useless art form; clearly a man deprived of a proper upbringing. Finally, educate yourself in Jacobethan architectural style and praise Elvason Castle for opening its private gardens to the public in 1850 hence reviving topiary throughout England. As a sidebar, the rich do not appreciate jokes around ‘trimming the bush’ or similar forms of low brow humour.

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