For the Love of Gardens

Those of you who know me even the slightest bit, know I’m not a gardener. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of gardening, it’s just that I’ve never actually had a garden of my own. In fact, I’ve rarely managed to keep my indoor plants alive for too long (to my dismay). Yet, lately I’m going through a phase in which I find myself interested in all things garden and gardening. Maybe it’s the fact that for the first time ever we’ve traded big city living with life in a small town, in the middle of (what’s left of) the prairie, but I am browsing the internet and collecting garden design ideas like a madwoman. And that’s how I’ve recently discovered the charm and beauties of an old world English knot garden.

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

A piece of perfect control and symmetry (words that are music to my heart), knot gardens are one of the greatest legacies of the 16th century English garden design. During the long and smooth reign of Elizabeth the First (and last Tudor), England had known a period of more calm and prosperity compared to her predecessors, which led in particular to an increased interest in gardening for the fun of it. This is the time when the beautiful Elizabethan garden plans were developed.

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

{page from a 16th century gardening book}

Named after the queen, Elizabethan gardens were created primarily for cultivating fragrant and medicinal herbs, fruits and all kinds of vegetables. Enclosed by walls, hedges and fences that offered protection from wild animals and harsh cold winds, these gardens were always designed geometrically, having symmetry in mind. Just my kind of garden 🙂

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

{¨In the stunning Knot Garden at The Sudeley Castle & Gardens. England, 1,200 box hedges form an intricate geometric design – based on a dress pattern worn by the queen Elizabeth I in a portrait – interspersed with colored gravel and with a Moorish mosaic fountain at the centre. Pots of Egyptian Papyrus adorn the four corners in the Summer.¨}

Knots, garden labyrinths and espaliered tries are one of the most common features of Elizabethan gardens.

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

To create the knotted effect, interlaced rectangular patches of boxwood and santolina were planted and the beds in between were filled with sand, gravel and colorful flowers that emphasized the specific pattern of the knots. To fully enjoy the intricated design, one had to observe these gardens from above.

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

In the center of Elizabethan gardens, water features or cooling fountains were placed on a raised platform that allowed unobstructed views in all directions.

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

{Sudeley castle – where Catherine Parr (Henry VIII-th 6th and final wife) died and was buried}

Bellow, a modern English garden by landscape designer Jane Lappin in East Hampton, NY.

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

Bellow, an Elizabethan garden in Plymouth, England.

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

Café Design | For the Love of Gardens

I don’t really know if we’ll ever live in a home formal enough for such a classic garden, but I sure love its beautiful structure and timeless charm. It will be great inspiration for my future vegetable & herb garden 🙂 I wish you all a great week!

xo,

Eva

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