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Seeking Edward Gorey

Matt Larkin has called himself a “topiary freak” since the interior designer visited the Green Animals, a historic garden in Rhode Island, two decades ago. The topiaries stood out in shapes of gray and black.

“It had an Edward Gorey quality to it that was super cool,” Larkin says. “I wanted that at my house.”

When he moved into an 1835 farmhouse in Berkshire County, Mass., 17 years ago, he transformed his four-acre property into a whimsical garden with 220 topiary pieces. There’s a recumbent elephant that shoots water through its trunk, rows of hedge passageways that take you to a pool, a 12-foot-tall woman with a top hat walking her dog – named Bubbles – and plazas surrounded by traditional English topiaries in geometric shapes.

One Berkshire County couple commissioned Larkin’s Black Barn Farm to tame a huge hedge 12 years ago. The result is a series of funky clouds with sculpted birds. The hedge is clipped only twice a year, but it is a three-person, 16-hour job.

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