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article image75-year-old retiree sculpts 150-ft 'There Be Dragons' from hedge

By Nancy Houser     Sep 9, 2014 in Entertainment
Retiree 75-year-old gardener John Brooker has undertaken a work of love...spending two to three days a week for two to three weeks out of the month trimming his hedge. Not any old green hedge, but an outstanding 150-ft green dragon hedge.
Brooker began working on the hedge in 2004 with sketches from his wife who used to be a graphic artist. The huge --- and boring---hedge was near his rented cottage in East Rudham, Norfolk, UK. Considered by many to be one of the top topiary works---the art of ornamental gardening for many centuries---John says the dragon more or less created itself.
“The shape just suggested itself,” he said. “It was just a completely-straight privet hedge to start with. Then I thought I’d carve some arches in the other end, then a head and it just came from there.”
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Other people have used the name "There Be Dragons" for Booker's dragon, describing it as a full piece of art with a name that goes back into the 1700s. According to the English Stack Exchange, it was a phrase that was used by early map makers to show faraway, uncharted corners on their map drawings.
Actually, it was used metaphorically to warn people from untried actions or unexplored areas. The name also warns people from dangerous actions, such as sculpting a 150-ft dragon on a 65-ft stepladder at 75-years of age!
However, this man's story is not old news or new news. It is ongoing news, as long as the dragon remains living in the hedge, is routinely groomed and its story remains alive. Remember, "There Be Dragons" has been around a very, very long time. :)
More about John Booker, Retiree, dragon topiary, 150 ft hedge, East Rudham, Norfolk, UK
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