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What is an English Garden?

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Cottage gardens are sometimes called “English cottage gardens”. This article will briefly discuss the historical and aesthetic differences between English and cottage gardens. English gardens tend to be more tranquil and have a wilder look.

The history of the cottage garden dates back to when two-thirds (or more) of medieval Europe’s population were affected by bubonic plague. This caused a need for labor, and also made it possible to have more land for those who survived. Cottage gardens were originally home to medicinal herbs and vegetable plants. These perennials were purposely planted to emit attractive aromas and compensate for the absence of bathing facilities at each home. The cottage garden has evolved over the centuries to include English annuals as well as perennials, herbs, greenery, and possibly a fruit tree for extra height and bounty. You can arrange all these plants behind a low wall, or border of shrubs. This will allow you to have a natural wild garden.

Formal English Garden
Formal English Garden

The English garden movement was born in the 1800s during the Romantic era. This movement encouraged humankind to connect with nature and share a wide range of emotions, secrets, stories, and feelings. Inspired by the sculptures of classical Italian gardens, English nobles created walls, walkways and geometric layouts in response to this shift in society. Gardeners of the English nobility built masonry walls or sheared English Yews (Taxus Baccata) to define spaces. An “English garden” would include beds that hugged pruned perennial and anual flowers, groundcovers with similar texture and height, and flowering herbs to add food and fragrance.

Historiography and Characteristics

The English garden was a popular choice for everyone, even those who were not of nobility by the end of the 19th century. The expansion of English gardens in other parts of the United Kingdom was due to the growth of the middle class. Gertrude Jekyll was a pioneer of modern landscape architecture and loved English gardens. She planted full flower borders in contrasting colors, shapes and textures, instead of the formal carpets used by nobles. Her method offered a break from the hard lines and surfaces of more formal landscapes. Jekyll’s shrubs provided a soft background and groundcovers softened edges. Mindfully placed perennials were also planted in succession. Although formal English gardens had a certain amount of square footage, large-scale sculptures and walls were still present, organic versions showed the Romantic love for freedom.

Design Ideas for English Gardens
Design Ideas for English Gardens

How to Create an English Garden at Your Home

The history of English gardening can overwhelm the modern gardener. This type of garden is not easy to design. It takes a lot of planning and effort to make it work. This garden can evoke a range of emotions, possibly because of its roots in freedom, harmony, light, space and colors. These are some ideas to enhance the English garden’s depth and variety.

Open spaces can be divided into open and closed areas. Open spaces can be defined as small hills and panoramic lawns, while closed spaces refer to areas where trees join together and create wooded areas. You can create a balance between open areas and closed spaces by creating small stone caves and other architectural structures in neoclassical and modern styles.

A water element is a welcome addition. Experts agree that a water element is essential to an English garden. A water element can add a feeling of tranquility and reflection to the garden. You can create a natural or artificial pond on a large piece of land and surround it with rocks and grasses. A smaller fountain or birdbath is an alternative. You can also surround the fountain with ceramics and sculptures.

Add wooden elements. Wood is the most common material for outdoor covers in English gardens. You can cover the pergola with bougainvillea, jasmine or wisteria. You will need a place to relax and unwind in your garden. You can use a wooden bench, teak patio furniture or any other piece made of wrought, wicker or bent willow.

You can bring in materials from your home. An English garden can be enhanced with brick or stone walls that may reflect the design of your neighbor’s home.

Build a unique structure. A structure can be used to create height or functionality or as a trellis that allows vines or climbing roses grow.

Add smaller objects. For a touch of playfulness, place a brightly-colored watering can between flowers or a gazingball in front an evergreen border.

Do not be afraid to add plants. English gardens make good use of space. You can relax about spacing rules by choosing blooming plants of different sizes, shapes, textures and colors. They will gather and explode from the planters and beds.

Plants to Include

Plan to plant layers when creating a layout for an English-style garden. Plant taller plants in your background, smaller plants in your middle, and smaller plants in front and foreground. Concentrate on perennials. Consider what is often called “old-fashioned” plants. These romantic blooms include roses and peonies, hydrangeas and foxgloves. You can choose evergreen hedges from a variety heights like boxwoods, yews, and laurel bushes. After the poppies are dormant, pair them with wildflowers such as cosmos that bloom at other times of year. A well-planned English garden will look different from one season to the next. Plant bulbs, moss phlox, bronze sedums, golden ornamental grass, and bronze berries to bring out their beauty. To create all-season color, fill in the spaces between perennial flowers and shrubs by planting annuals.

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