After LA antiques dealer Richard Shapiro created a Palladian folly in his Holmby Hills garden in Los Angeles, (see previous blog post “Palladio in Hollywood”), he decided to enhance its setting with a maze.
Thumbing through a magazine, shortly after completing the Palladian pavilion, he came across a photograph of the Chateau Marqueyssac in the Dordogne region of France, that featured an elaborate garden labyrinth made from topiary boxwood.
In a garden already filled with palms, Italian cypress and bamboo and fragrant with lavender, chosen for the color of the foliage rather than the sweetness of the flower, Shapiro embarked upon a botanical folly.
“I spent five days deciding where to plant 480 mature boxwoods and spent several hours a day for the next month trimming them,” he says. “This is not a complaint; I’m obsessed with doing it.”
The result was well worth it. Adjacent to a stone patio decked with gray spray-painted wicker chairs from Pier 1 Imports, Shapiro’s boxwood maze is a series of rounded undulating forms traversed by curlicue gravel walkways — an Alice in Wonderland garden as photographed by Tim Burton.
Shapiro considers the $25,000 he spent “a great bargain. It’s such a singular thing,” he says. “It’s of the same ilk as the other folly.”