Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual Topiary

Hat Man At Levens Hall

You could argue that Levens Hall in North West England is unusual in itself – the topiary garden you can glimpse in the background is the oldest in the world, dating back to 1694. But my focus is on the Hat Man in the foreground. 

You many have heard of green men, carved from stone that appear on old buildings and have foliage emerging from their ears, noses and mouths. It’s an ancient concept – nobody alive now knows for sure what a green man symbolises. If you’ve not toured the UK as my sweetheart and I have, looking for them, you might think they are rare or unusual. I won’t go so far as to say they’re common – green women are an especial rarity – but topiary Hat Men are even rarer. I only know of this one.

I can read people’s expressions quite well, but I’m not so good with a Hat Man. Those eyes… they’re paying attention, looking directly into the camera lens like any good model, but beyond that, it’s a mystery. Perhaps all Hat Men are enigmatic, like the green ones.

This week’s photo challenge – unusual – is too tempting. I am not sure I’m going to be able to go a whole week without submitting another one. Please take a look at the other submissions if you have chance.

17 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual Topiary

  1. Lignum Draco says:

    Great choice for the challenge. Those eyes are particularly menacing. Is that a common attribute to Hat Men? It kind of looks like an angry leprechaun.

    • susurrus says:

      It might be that Hat Men are the superheroes of topiary and that menacing look is just to warn us off – he seems to have a small cape, for example.

  2. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Great choice for challenge. Topiary is pretty amazing anyway, and this one is certainly unusual!

    • susurrus says:

      The Head Gardener told us that the repeated pruning required for topiary seems to prolong the life of the tree rather than shorten it, because trees of the same species and around the same age that have been growing outside the garden are now reaching the end of their natural lives.

  3. Oddment says:

    No, I’ve never heard of green men — at least not like these! This green hat man is totally mysterious; I’m not sure what his look is about, but I do think he knows something the rest of us don’t know. The topiary garden in the background looks like great fun!

    • susurrus says:

      You’d like the topiary and there is an interesting kitchen garden, some lovely, long perennial borders and a tea room (as in almost any decent-sized UK garden).

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