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METROPOLIS | So SoCal

A Cut Above

June 16, 1996|Bill Stern

The notoriously extravagant Romans trimmed bushes and trees into all sorts of fantastic shapes: giraffes, sundials, ships, even entire hunting scenes. We Americans, with our Puritan beginnings, have more often limited ourselves to prim geometric shapes. Of course, not here in Southern California. With the same exuberance that brought us an entire province worth of French-chateau apartment buildings, we've gone for the cartoonish, the outsized, the over-the-top in topiaries: water spurts from the mouths of leafy dinosaurs on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade; a cypress John Wayne, waving, waits for a buyer at the Featherhill Nursery in the City of Orange, and, on Academy Awards night, a pair of 24-foot-high fresh myrtle Oscars greets winners--and losers--outside Mortons restaurant. This is Hollywood, after all. Well, Hollywood gone to seed.

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