Formal Garden Cottage Garden Chinese Garden
What is your Garden Type?
By MG Calla Victoria
In the world of landscape design there are several specific garden designs. This article is the beginning of a three-part series on Garden designs.
For all of you OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) gardeners there is the Formal or Parterre Garden with very clipped and manicured hedges with corners so sharp they could cut you. Formal gardens are on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedges usually in symmetrical patterns. Parterres need not have any flowers at all as the beauty of this type of garden is the geometric designs created and can best be appreciated from looking down on the garden from a porch or balcony. French parterres originated in 15th-century with the most famous being the garden at Palace Versailles in Paris. I had the pleasure of touring that garden which is breathtaking, but one must marvel at how they kept those acres of hedges so finely manicured back then with no power tools. If you are not traveling to Paris any time soon a trip to the Viscaya Mansion in Miami will do just fine. I was there for Thanksgiving and was intrigued at the use of plant materials that were cut into hedges, specifically a bank of spruce trees created a soft and wispy allee (pronounced al-lay).
Now the polar opposite of the formal garden is the Cottage Garden. This garden design is most informal with dense plantings and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, the cottage garden depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure. Cottage Garden design encompasses both the front and backyard and tolerates little if any lawn. From the curb to the front door you will find mass plantings of flowers and grasses. To some the Cottage garden may look a little overgrown but that is the charm of the design, just basically allowing plants to do what they do naturally; trail, flop or intertwine with other plants with no respect of
space or definition.
The third and final garden design to be discusses today is the Chinese garden, also known as a Chinese classical garden. This type of garden design is characterized by an enclosed wall and has one or more ponds, a rock garden, trees, flowers; and an assortment of halls and pavilions within the garden connected by winding paths and zigzag galleries that create a sense of mystery and curiosity as you wonder what will unfold around the next curve.
Come back next week for Part 2 of Garden Designs, and check out my Gardening Tip of the Week.