March 19, 2010

Knot your average garden

knot garden jamie durieSpring arrives officially this weekend, so I thought we’d go outside for today’s post…

What’s a knot garden?

Knot gardens demonstrate the formal art of pruning and shaping plants in a defined garden space. Traditionally, knot gardens included a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs. Today, knot gardens may include hedge plants.

First established in the UK in the 1500s, knot gardens were prominent in the UK, France, and Italy. Many homes and towns were surrounded by high walls that were bleak and cold. Knot gardens were a way to bring beauty into the lives of the homeowners, who could look out their windows at their beautiful gardens below.

sqaure garden content swgfl org uk The highly manipulated plants in a knot garden also gave homeowners a sense of control in their lives. They would trim the plants (such as boxwood, rosemary, and lavender) into patterns. The garden designs were usually box-shaped, but as the gardens grew and developed, the patterns became more intricate and elaborate, creating a woven or embroidered look.

As you can imagine, maintaining a knot garden requires a lot of time and patience. It’s a garden that appeals to someone who prefers a well-structured garden over a natural-looking garden. If you have the inclination to give it a try, here are some knot gardens that might inspire you…

St. Fagans Castle in South Wales.

Knot_garden_St_Fagans wikipedia

Antony House in Cornwall, UK.

antony_house_garden cornwall garden visit

Red Lodge Museum, also in Cornwall, UK.

RedLodge timetravel-britain

Cleveland Botanical Gardens in Cleveland, Ohio.

western reserve herb society cb garden

A modern take on the knot garden — the Beryl Ivey knot garden at the Toronto Botanical Garden.

beryl ivey 1 beryl ivey 2

Anzac Square in front of the Dunedin Railway Station in Dunedin, New Zealand. The building is pretty impressive too!!

Dunedin_Railway_Station biocrawler dunedin railway odt co nz

Birr Castle in Ireland.

BirrCastle_Parterre wikimedia 
Feeling inspired yet?? Here are some more…

hatfield-house_the-knot-garden garden history society design-knot-garden i ehow com

knot garden flickr

The colours and undulations in this garden really give it the effect that the plants are all knotted together.

This one looks like it’s made from oasis!!

knot_garden_planting_design garden visit

I don’t know about your neighbourhood, but mine doesn’t have anything as nearly as cool as this!!

knot_garden dc landscape

Maybe something a bit smaller would be more suitable for your backyard?? ;-)

garden  garden cottage inn garden wizard gardens co uk knot_garden dave pattison

how-to-grow-an-herb-garden how stuff works

Love the combination of green and purple plants in these knot gardens…

knot garden exterior worlds

knots visit owensborogarden_knot agecroft hall

So what do you think — is there a knot garden in your backyard future?? I’d love to give it a try, but (1) I don’t have the patience to do all that trimming and (2) even if I did have the patience, my dogs like to eat our shrubs, so… ;-)

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Sarah @ Dream In Domestic said...

Interesting topic! I guess I am really thankful I love the look of wildflowers growing randomly because I don't think I would ever have the time or patience to maintain a knot garden. I sure have respect for anyone that does have one though. They are gorgeous, but I'm a country girl and like things to be more natural and unplanned.

Linda @ theLENNOXX said...

Incredibly beautiful! So clean and symmetric lines, just perfect. Wish my garden looked like that, but I agree with Sarah, wayyy too much upkeep!

Sam Diamond said...

Not for me. Whenever I see one of these it reminds me of the end of The Shining.
-Quoizel Lighting

Vanessa@decor happy said...

Yes they are stunning but a bit too formal requiring more upkeep than I could provide.

Nancy@marcusdesign said...

I love these images! Great post, there is something about perfectly trimmed hedges that really attracts me (I think it's the defined structure). Even though it would be hard to have a full out knot garden, you could certainly apply the same rules to a nice little simple boxwood hedge! Love it :)

Pam Kersting said...

I LOVE them all!! And I'm inspired enough to perhaps try one in my own backyard. Thank you and Happy Spring!

Marie Brady said...

These knot gardens are amazing! I'm so sorry that I missed seeing the ones in Wales and Cornwall last time I was there! I wish I had the dedication and yard space for one.

Diane Schuller said...

I've always admired knot gardens and even fancied the idea of having one myself. I'm afraid I'm more of an English Country garden garden. A bit of everything here and there, thick, lush, and entirely wild looking :)

Susan said...

The gardens are so pretty to look at... but I cant imagine having one without a castle to go with it. And of course, a yard boy.

Donna @ Paisley and Perspective said...

Ohhh - I'd love one - but I don't think I'd stay married very long if hubby had to do the trimming. Last house we lived in had a large cedar hedge surrounding the backyard. Trimming involved scaffolding and gas powered hedge trimmers, both of which hubby has grown an affliction for :)! I'll just have to make due with your gorgeous selection of pictures. Thanks for the fix!

tomas said...

wow, look at that, very creative and inspiring, I wish I could design something like that

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