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.
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.
Antony House in Cornwall, UK.
Red Lodge Museum, also in Cornwall, UK.
Cleveland Botanical Gardens in Cleveland, Ohio.
A modern take on the knot garden — the Beryl Ivey knot garden at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
Anzac Square in front of the Dunedin Railway Station in Dunedin, New Zealand. The building is pretty impressive too!!
Birr Castle in Ireland.
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!!
I don’t know about your neighbourhood, but mine doesn’t have anything as nearly as cool as this!!
Maybe something a bit smaller would be more suitable for your backyard?? ;-)
Love the combination of green and purple plants in these knot gardens…
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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