Have you ever heard gardening styles named and wondered what they described? Perhaps you’re ready to replant or start a new garden and are interested in trying a new style. Here’s a simple guide to 10 basic gardening styles that you may find helpful.
5 Basic Gardening Styles
There are plenty of different garden styles, and it can be confusing to hear different names bandied about. Knowing the style of garden that you’re wanting to plant is very helpful when determining what types of plants you may want in your garden. It can also help when you’re designing the plan that you use for your garden – it will be one that you find aesthetically pleasing to your own tastes, just as interior designing meets your own style and taste.
If you see a garden that uses carefully trimmed hedges, and shrubs in a symmetrical design, you’re looking at a formal garden. Although they do have some differences between them, the formal garden is typically marked by the use of symmetry with shrubs and hedges. These gardens are also at times known as Renaissance gardens. The styles differ slightly between Italian, French, English and Spanish Renaissance gardens, but all hold the symmetry and use of shrubbery as common bonds. Knot gardens are another type of formal garden which have been popular lately. Formal gardens are typically found to have a limited number of plants – 3 or 4 kinds of plants used symmetrically.
Cottage Style Gardening
My personal favorite type of garden is the Cottage or English style garden. These gardens are very informal,and are characterized by dense plantings, the use of traditional materials, and may include a mixture of flowers, herbs, and even edibles. Historically used for herbs and food purposes, cottage gardens are becoming popular these days. The dense plantings also help to cut back on weeding, which is always a plus for beginning gardeners. Delphinium, columbine, and daisies are popular flowers in cottage gardens.
New American Garden
This style is one I’m only recently familiar with by this name – when preparing my research for this article, I came across several references to New American style gardening, which is marked by the usage of native perennial plants, bulbs, and especially ornamental grasses. The New American Garden is domesticating the prairie that used to be North America, and it’s a great way to remember how this area used to look. It’s similar to cottage gardening, but is less controlled and even bolder. Coneflower, phlox and sedum are popular plants in New American gardening.
Butterfly and hummingbird gardens, while they do have slightly different plants and flowers, are used for designed for the same purpose – to attract beautiful creatures. This gardening style is very beautiful, and tending this garden is more than just relaxing, it can also be captivating as you watch the butterflies and hummingbirds that visit. This is a very popular gardening style with children – I’m not sure I’ve met a child yet who doesn’t find butterflies and hummingbirds interesting. Butterfly weed, aster, and trumpet vines are popular plants in butterfly and hummingbird gardens.
One of my other favorite types of garden, the herb garden can also be combined with other styles of gardening. Knot herb gardens are popular, which applies a formal design to an herb garden. Herbs are very popular in both cottage and New American gardening, and are often used in butterfly and hummingbird gardens as well. Herbs are quite versatile and in large variety, so some of our favorite flowers often also have herbal applications. A midwife’s herb garden is the most interesting to me, which is a thematic and historical garden.
There are beautiful gardens of any number of design all around us. Whether your tastes lean more toward formal or cottage, you want to attract beautiful creatures or grow beautiful plants with medicinal applications, there is a garden out there for each of us. My favorite gardening styles are cottage and herb gardens. I love being able to use the plants, the beauty of the herbs, and the dense plantings of the cottage garden. Cottage gardens are known for their romantic looks, and I am a romantic at heart! 🙂 We are currently renters, but when we do make the the mortgage move, I’ll be planting a cottage style garden in my flowerbeds!
What is your favorite gardening style? Is there one you’d be interested in learning more about such as Shakespeare gardens, biblical gardens, children’s gardens, A to Z gardens, or salsa gardens? I love looking at different gardening styles!
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