Archive for the Victorian gardens Category

The Victorian Garden

Posted in Victorian gardens on October 31, 2007 by ena

1victorian_urns.jpgThe Victorian era brought many changes to social habits,
and it also brought about a new concept in gardening.

Due to the Industrial Revolution, there was a great increase
in population, especially in urban areas and the wealthy
class that emerged were distinct in background from the
landowners who created the English gardens.

In a book printed in 1806, Humphrey Repton stated that the
four principles of landscape gardening should be;
1. The garden should display natural beauty but hide natural defects.

2. The garden should give the appearance of freedom by disguising
    or hiding boundaries.

3. The garden should carefully conceal every interference of art,
    making the whole look as if it were totally produced by nature.

4. The garden should have no objects of mere convenience or

It is interesting to note that these principles went against the
views of ” Capability Brown“, the reigning horticultural planner
of the Victorian garden.

Mr Brown, operated on a grand scale, he said that his work was
done  with a poet’s feeling and a painter’s eye. 
He was the master garden artist, under his influence parklike
gardens abounded, and he liked to incorporate lakes and hills
into his designs.

However Mr Reptons idea was to take the idea of a garden park
and miniaturize it, making it every person’s own floral and
foliage display.

John Claudius Loudon , a Scot, with his wife, published the
Suburban Gardener( 1838) for many years the bible of the new
and rapidly rising middle class.
It was becoming clear that the garden was no longer the exclusive
domain of the privileged few, but the delight of the middle class.

The flowering gardens in present day London and its suburbs,
owe a great deal to this one man.

 hosta-garden.jpgA typical Victorian Garden of yesteryear, would have  a green
 lawn, shrubs appropriately placed for mass
 and dimension, and an incredible array of
 walls, levels, and steps all combined to
 create a pleasant scene.


A Victorian Cottage Garden.

Posted in Victorian gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2007 by ena

my-garden.jpgIn the days of old England, many of the workers in small villages
were called peasants, and they owned small houses with very small gardens.
A Victorian cottage garden would have to supply the family with all of
their gardening needs.
The kitchen garden would consist of vegetables and mixed fruits.
In amongst this array of produce they would also grow flowers.The most popular flowers would be hollyhocks, delphiniums, daisies
and also an array of herbs – mint being one of the most popular.
With their mystical charm and abundance of scents, Victorian
cottage gardens
exhibited a style that evolved through the necessity of the times.Many families would have gone hungry if they had
not had the benefit of home-grown produce.

Unlike the peasant garden, the gardens of the landowners,
or gentry, were very formal with box hedges, straight lines,
stone paths, and many with wonderful statues depicting
the gods of ancient

They would also have fountains with water flowing into a lake or pond.
They were considered by some to be classic with their order and discipline.

When the more romantic influence came into being,
plants were considered to affect us emotionally,
and the cottage garden was born out of this movement.

One of the most famous cottage gardens was designed
by the French impressionist painter Claude Monet.
The cottage gardens with their abundance of roses,
growing over fences, and their vine-covered arbors
with flowers climbing towards the sun, are now emulated in North

Their informal style of tall wonderful perennials battling it out
for space in the back of the borders, creating a profusion of
textures and substance, and the smaller plants in the front
of the borders determined to lift their heads to the sun,
not to be outdone by their taller cousins, all this creates
a palette of color, that would be very hard to outdo.

The other advantage to having this kind of garden
is that it reduces the amount of weeds that grow,
as the branching out of the plants hides the sun from
getting through to the ground and therefore snuffs
out the chances of weeds germinating.

To create a cottage garden, don’t be afraid to plant
seeds close together as this creates the effect you
are looking for. Go for a variety of shapes.
Plant feathery plants amidst spiky ones; use bold leaf
plants with delicate ones. Put a sprawling plant next to an upright one.

The best rule of thumb is to plant tall at the back
and short in the front of your borders.

In most cases, try to plant in odd numbers of three, five, etc
and in very large borders try groupings of up to seven or nine
of the same plant. This method gives depth and structure to your borders.

Also keep foliage in mind. Some gardeners say that foliage
is more important than blooms, but the sight of colored blossoms
nodding in the breeze and turning their faces up to the sun
can be more satisfying.

In the end it all comes down to personal taste, but whether
you like straight line gardening, formal gardening, or cottage gardening,
get your hands dirty and have fun.

oh to be in England!