Tellico Plains' Topiary Joe makes one-of-a-kind shrubbery art pi

Tellico Plains' Topiary Joe makes one-of-a-kind shrubbery art pieces

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The day we caught up with him, Topiary Joe was working on a life-sized elephant. The day we caught up with him, Topiary Joe was working on a life-sized elephant.
"I think the most rewarding part is seeing the kids smile, seeing people being inspired to go out and try art," Joe Kyte said. "I think the most rewarding part is seeing the kids smile, seeing people being inspired to go out and try art," Joe Kyte said.
A Mickey Mouse ears archway he made for Disney. (Source: Topiary Joe) A Mickey Mouse ears archway he made for Disney. (Source: Topiary Joe)
A topiary he made for Dasani (Source: Topiary Joe) A topiary he made for Dasani (Source: Topiary Joe)

By KRISTIN FARLEY
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A topiary can be defined as a tree or shrub clipped into an ornamental shape, but one East Tennessee man takes that definition to the next level. 

Topiary Joe produces life-sized animals, cartoon characters, and company logos out of plants all around the world.

At The Dogwood Arts House and Garden Show, Joe and his crew attached each little piece of greenery to a steel frame. With each step you could see topiary come to life.  

"Nobody else is doing this, so I figured I would do it," said Joe Kyte, the man behind the business.

Kyte, who calls Tellico Plains home, became known as Topiary Joe after an experience in the "happiest place on earth" changed his life.

"I got started doing it when working with a Dutch company in Disney World," he told us.

You may have seen his work in Disney. Pictures showcase his artistry in a massive Snow White and, of course, the iconic Mickey ears. 

He also has lots of work outside the United States. Most of his work here is in private gardens, so if you want to catch a glimpse you may have to drive by his East Tennessee home.

"I have a 12-foot tall dragon on my mailbox," Kyte told us. You can see it when driving along the Cherohala Skyway. Other projects he is working on can often be seen in his front yard.

The day we caught up with him, Kyte was working on a life-sized elephant.  

He makes the steel structures, and while he can ship the topiaries, he often works on them at their final destination.

"I think the most rewarding part is seeing the kids smile, seeing people being inspired to go out and try art," Kyte said.

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