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Elephants are back from hedge of extinction

Neighbours band together to help rescue topiary damaged in collision

30 August, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Ambler Road resident Dave, left, and a builder helping to rescue the hedge

ICONIC topiary elephants have been “resurrected” after a car crashed into them, toppling one of the green giants.

A team of rescuers was scrambled together by architect Tim Bushe after he heard that the beloved elephants he had carved into a hedge in Romily Road at the junction with Ambler Road, Finsbury Park, were mangled by a road traffic collision two weeks ago.

Neighbours spent the following days watering the wounded beast in a bid to keep it alive until Mr Bushe could return from holiday and revive them.

The 66-year-old architect said: “It was a successful resurrection. When I got back I spoke to tree surgeons and landscape artists who laughed when I asked if we could save the elephants.

“So, as an architect, I resorted to my usual source and asked my favourite builder to come with a few of his mates and give it a go. They had the elephant back on its feet in less than 15 minutes.”

A builder surveys the damage

The elephant was dragged up last Thursday and a brace was erected behind it as a support while the roots were buried back in the ground.

“The brace will have to stay there until the end of the year,” Mr Bushe said. “The leaves look green and if we keep watering it I think the elephants will survive. I’m sure there will be some surprises down the line on this safari though.”

Tricia Zipfel, of the Blackstock Triangle Gardeners group which originally commissioned Mr Bushe to create the elephants, helped with the rescue mission last Thursday.

She said: “Somehow they look a lot thinner and taller, but they also look like they’re going to survive, which is a massive relief.

“Dave [an Ambler Road resident] has been amazing. He’s been out almost every day watering the elephants.

“A lot of us have helped whenever we could and between us we made sure they didn’t deteriorate.”

Police confirmed that they were called to a car in collision with a wall in Ambler Road at about 12.05 on August 13.

A spokeswoman added that this was a “damage-only collision” and no criminal offences are being logged in relation to it.

The elephants were first commissioned seven years ago as a way of discouraging drug use and anti-social behaviour behind the hedge.

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