Topiary Testudo is a frame topiary created by Tennessee artist Joe Kyte, also known as “Topiary Joe,” and it measures 12 feet long, 5 feet wide and 3 feet 6 inches tall. Kyte has refined the art of topiary, traditionally creating sculptures with clipped shrubbery and vines, by adding a metal frame through which the plants grow. His sculptures are featured at many famous landscapes, including Legoland, Disney World, and SeaWorld. Topiary Testudo is a gift from the Class of 2004 which took two years to raise $12,000 for the sculpture and commission an artist for the work.
Topiary Testudo sits on a raised circular mound in the center of a circular sidewalk. The sculptural shell is made of sheared boxwood growing through the metal frame and the head is planted with Baltic ivy (Hedera helix var. baltica). Firepower heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica 'Firepower') is a dwarf cultivar planted to the side of Testudo. Firepower has one of the best red winter foliage colors of any heavenly bamboo and it seldom produces fruit. The planted circle also includes sedum, variegated liriope, and heuchera as ground covers. Upright European hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’) outline the plaza.
Topiary Testudo was dedicated in the fall of 2007.