|The current fashion in garden design is the "cottage garden" or English country garden. This type of garden is informal in appearance and relatively easy to maintain. Common garden plants are planted closely to create drifts of color. Each flower bed is planned so that different colors and heights combine to create a harmonious effect. Think of an Impressionist painting of a garden.|
|Informal gardens were not the fashion in the 16th and 17th centuries. Flower gardens were laid out on a geometric plan, divided into small beds separated by paths. Each individual bed contained only a few plants, so visitors could walk around each plant and admire it. Sometimes, an inventory was kept of the contents of the garden. Hedges or fences kept out thieves and wandering livestock. Medicinal gardens, for obvious reasons, were also carefully organized. (Visit a large rose garden to see an example of a formal garden.)|
|The modern gardener has several options. Plant a formal flower garden using flowers and other plants which were fashionable in the 16th and 17th centuries. Plant an apothecary's garden or a kitchen garden, focusing on plants which had medicinal or culinary uses. Some very beautiful plants were grown for practical purposes (including foxgloves, roses, and irises). Some plants would have been found in both types of garden (practical and purely decorative). Another option is to add a few Elizabethan flowers to an existing, modern garden.|
|For a less formal look, create a meadow of wild or near-wild
flowers. Dr. Preston's list of native English plants is included
in the database as a source for a "wild" garden.
The database also includes some of the plants identified from the
Unicorn Tapestries. Most of these flowers were growing in the wild
in the 1500s.
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