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Historic topiary - Glendon

A 1933 view of John Cooper's topiary garden - 02-285/28

From the 1920s to 1960, John Cooper's topiary garden at Newman, on the main road north of Eketahuna, was a popular tourist attraction.



John Cooper built Glendon in 1892 and the topiary reached its zenith in the 1930s, mirroring the revival of topiary by the Arts and Crafts movement in England.  In 1933 the garden was visited by Lady Bledisloe, wife of the Governor-General.

After his death in 1942 the topiary garden remained in place until the Cooper farm was sold in 1960.

The garden in 1920 - 04-41/14

A child sitting in a topiary chair in Cooper's topiary garden, 1930 - 04-41/12


John Cooper working on topiary, 10 September 1930 - 04-41/9


Mrs Cooper and a topiary hen, circa 1930s - 04-41/8

Early 1930s view of garden - 04-41/2

Man on a sofa, circa 1930s - 04-41/5


John Cooper and Lady Bledisloe, wife of the Governor-General, 1933 - 04-41/4.
Note the topiary man sitting to the right of Lady Bledisloe.



The second Glendon
After 1960 the house and garden fell into disrepair until the property was bought in 1971 by Margaret and Kel Lucas, who spent many years restoring the house and creating a large country garden.

Glendon homestead, prior to restoration, 1980 - 04-41/18


A 1990 view of the house after restoration - 04-41/30


Garden after restoration, undated - 04-41/23


Garden after restoration, undated - 04-41/22
Garden, showing colchicums, lavender and wachendorfias, undated - 04-41/20


Glendon today
Interested in how Glendon had fared in recent years, I took some photos from State Highway 2.  While some of the trees are a little overgrown, the shape of the garden, including the lovely sweep of the driveway put in place by Mr and Mrs Lucas, still provides a very attractive view.

The driveway, January 2011.



Glimpse of the homestead from the road, January 2011


A corner of the old picket fence, January 2011


Margaret Lucas wrote a book about the history of Glendon and its restoration: Glendon: topiary and tranquillity - a history of two gardens.  It is available from Heritage Press and the Wairarapa Archive.

Source: Wairarapa Archives

Comments

  1. As soon as I saw the gables of the house in the first photo I knew exactly which property this was going to be! As a child in the 1970s and 80s I was fascinated by the neglected, and then restoration taking place, as we traveled constantly from Masterton to Pahiatua. Lovely to see the topiary. What vision of the first Mr Cooper.

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