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SeaWeeders Visit Master Topiary Artist

About a dozen of our Garden Club members delighted in a December field trip to the three-acre Elfin Forest garden and studio of master topiary artist Jennifer Coburn.

Jennifer has created metal sculpture and topiary for Disney Resorts worldwide for four decades. Her whimsical topiary characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Dumbo and creatures from Fantasia welcome visitors to Disney properties in Hong Kong, Japan and Shanghai. She created the only Mickey Mouse topiary for Disney Studios in Burbank and was an artist in the Studio Store. Her works also are displayed locally at LegoLand, as well as in signage for area Fire Departments.

Jennifer hosted the SeaWeeders in her office to explain how her living sculptures take shape. She starts by sketching her vision for the finished work, then designs and welds a metal, sculptural frame, then installs plants at the base. As the plants — typically boxwoods — grow, they are trimmed and shaped to fill in the sculpture and bring it to life.Depending on its size, the topiary can take up to a year to grow to completion.

Learning to weld was “one of the most empowering moments of my life,” Ms. Coburn recalls in a brief documentary video about her work. “How can you live without an anvil?”

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