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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Theme Gardens...What's yours?

Tonight's class topic is "Theme Gardens". Basically every garden has some theme. It might be a English Cottage theme such as I have here.

Many people love the rose garden theme, this one is at Old Westbury Garden and is spectacular!

A knot garden and an herbal garden theme goes hand in hand.

The theme you choose is only doable if the conditions of your property allow it to be done. Many properties in my area have large trees so a Shade Retreat works well around here.

The best theme garden I've ever toured was a Redneck Garden in the Carolinas.

Even small gardens can have themes. A potted garden, a container garden and so on.

If wildlife is your thing, then you want a nature retreat with lots of plants to invite the woodland creatures into your garden. I can tell you though that I did not invite this little guy here, he came on his own. Go away you cute chipmunk!

Butterfly gardens are very popular and will be our focus tonight. I can think of all kinds of theme gardens such as:
Children's Gardens
Vegetable Gardens
Organic Gardens
Alphabetical Gardens (Synoptic Gardens - works great for kids!)
Pizza Gardens
Cutting Flower Gardens
Fairy Gardens
Native Plant Gardens
Xeriscape Gardens

Well, the list could go on and on but I'd rather hear from you. What's your garden theme? If you don't have one, what's your dream garden theme?


Tina said...

Oh, I have a few themes-

Frances, said...

We have lots of themes too, but none that look like those luscious photos of the rose and knot gardens. Wowee zowee. I guess every bed here has a theme of some kind, some by color, some by type of plant, like the shrub border, daylily hill, black garden, woodland garden, etc. Etc. is the main theme here however.

Frances at Faire Garden

Karen said...

My ideal theme is cottage. But .... I work it however is easiest and I have a habit of changing my mind often.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Well ... you did ask ... didn't you ? LOL
ZOO .... that is what I have .. a plant ZOO !
Well .. ok .. technically it could be called a "specimen" garden with a tiny bit of wacky design .. rocks .. driftwood .. an almost , dare I say, beach theme ? in places ..
I love all the gardens you listed and I would adore having the space for (what I usually laugh at) garden ROOMS of all different themes .. now that would be heaven to me !
Joy : )

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Nature is definitely my theme. I garden to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to my garden.

Being from Alabama, I'd love to see that redneck garden! That is a hoot!

Cinj said...

My gardens tend to be a bit eclectic. I had many different garden spots at my old house. I'm not really all the good at labelling though. I had a beautiful rose garden for a few years, but I was going broke replacing my roses every year!

Brenda Kula said...

I suppose I'm the cottage theme, if there is such a thing. I am sporadic about planting, and just move things around that don't seem to work. I love bright colors and don't worry about how to put them together. My only real theme is, will this work in this amount of sun!

Jackie said...

Any chance of you sharing where I could take a class like yours? I also live in Huntington. Thanks!

Anna said...

I want to call it something no one has come up with yet. I designed this house to be a new craftsman style. Craftsman was a kind of structured, square, geometric, cottage...50ish look. I'm mixing in farmhouse, southern living, Bob Timberlake, nature, and earthiness. So lets see....Bob Timberlake's pictures describe it the best--let me go google him and see how he describes it--brb....Ok, got it.

Southern Traditions--casual comfortable with a touch of elegant. This means containers of multi sizes filled with pleasing textures and masses of single color. Most pots planted up with one variety in mass. In the Movie Hope Floats, there is a beautiful arrangement of Caladiums on the front porch. The single mass of caladiums makes a grand statement.

Elegant in the eyes of a southerner could be a cracked pot with some pansies blooming inside if it's all in the right balance of color. I'll be doing lots of plants but they all be in groups of color and not spread out.

garden girl said...

I love that redneck garden too! How imaginative!

My theme is shady retreat. It's shady, and it's DH's and my retreat from mid-spring to mid-autumn. Lots of relaxing, happy times are spent on our shady patio enjoying our shady garden.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I want it all, so I tried to have it all and ended up with a jungle. So I guess the theme is jungle. Your pictures are great.


sisah said...

Your photos of different "Theme Gardens" remind me of a visit in a polish garden center last year, that exhibited different "Theme Gardens". I called this a "Disneyland" for gardeners to myself.If you like to have a look, here are some photos:
I am afraid this type of gardening is not my cup of tea: If I imagine choosing a theme for my garden and then stick to it no matter what (climate, soil)conditions there are is some kind of violation to me. To me it is/was the other way round: I moved to an area called Brandenburger Streusandb├╝chse" (box of sand), with is a stream passing our garden and I asked myself:What can I do with this piece of land? What is possible? And all themes you mentioned seem to be possible, besides a Pizza Garden *LOL*, what on earth is that, Melanie?
Liebe Gr├╝sse

Lin zone 9a said...

I was mulling over my garden's theme question and wondering if I truly have one--a theme, that is!

I have sections / is small area has large cacti, another area is roses, another all the flowers are lavender colored, etc. Largest area is Mediterranean and native-plants, lots of color and that just-a-little-wild look that I like, which attracts lots of birds, bees, etc.

Love the photo of the Redneck garden! I really like humor in the garden, well, any where, really!

Anonymous said...

Ha, Melanie, that redneck garden is the best! Reminds me of my fabled "white trash terrarium." Thanks for sharing these with us!

Melanie said...

Tina, I like your themes, especially crayola!

Frances, lots of themes? That sounds like my place too.

Karen, I've changed my mind so many times I wonder what it used to be like. Cottage gardening though is a favorite of mine.

Joy, a zoo? I know exactly what you mean, lots and lots of specimen plantings. Sounds like a mini botanical arboretum to me.

Robin, I wish I knew if that redneck garden still exists, it would be worth paying money to go back and tour it.

Cinj, roses have to be replaced like crazy here too, I only have two varieties right now and one might not be alive.

Brenda, here on Long Island most of us wish for more sun, it's funny how that changes for different locations. Lots of color sounds like it's right up my alley.

Jackie, my class was an adult ed. program at Walt Whitman High School and probably a one shot deal. It's an enormous amount of work to carry all that stuff in each time! I left you a hint though on today's post. Next Thursday the schools are closed around here and I've invited my class and anybody else who is interested to come to my gardens at either 10:30 am or 6:30 pm and I'll do a hands on demonstration on digging, dividing and planting. You are welcome to come!

Anna, Southern Traditions sounds so elegant! I can't wait to watch your garden grow.

Linda, in the spring I want to garden in the sun (like I today) but come July and August, give me shade gardens please! You are right, they feel like a "retreat".

Aunt Debbi, a jungle is just right for all those monkeys :-) I'm planning a garden for our high school and a jungle would work for them too :-)

Sisah, a pizza garden is a variation of an herb garden. You make a circular bed and section it off into pieces (like a wagon wheel or in this case like a pizza!). Each section gets planted with something different. You can plant each section with things you like in/on your pizza like Oregano, parsley, Basil (try some purple Basil for pizazz) and so on. In the middle could be a tall container filled with tomato plants or Eggplant or what ever tickles your fancy. I'd like to find a pepperoni plant for it too :-)

Lin, native plantings are so wonderful, I've been trying hard to continue to add them here.

Ourfriendben, a white trash terrarium? That sounds pretty funny to me. Kind of like the toilet bowl in my compost area?

Meems said...

Hi Melanie,
Love your cottage garden -it is exquisite... I am always drawn to that style. That rose garden photo is outstanding too. Wish I was better with roses.

I guess there are a couple of areas in my garden that lend itself to somewhat of a cottage style. The overall "theme" that best describes my garden is a shady tropical retreat. Since we have several "islands" of sprawling oak trees underplanted with native saw palmettos (thank God the builder left them in place) I started with some good bones. From there I have created mostly densely underplantings. I always keep in mind planting to attract butterflies, birds and bees. The wildlife is naturally here due to living in an area with lots of water, tall pines, cypress, and oaks.

Fun post as always, Melanie. Now my lunch break is over... gotta get back to the garden... Have a great day.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

That Redneck garden looks like something from a garden show - it's wonderful! I guess I have 2 themes - in back is the so-called Woodland garden & in front my faux mini prairie.

patientgardener said...

I would like to say English Cottage Garden but I am still working on it

Cinj said...

Whew! So I'm not the only person who can't grow roses? I was beginning to worry.

Marie said...

Beautiful photos and interesting post.

I live in an old farmhouse and I try to use flowers and plants from country gardens.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Mine has more than one although both the English cottage style and the rose garden often overlap. Your photo of the rose garden was outstanding. I love the way they pruned the roses into pillars along the fence posts.~~Dee

Amy said...

Love the "redneck garden" theme, what a hoot! I have a few themes I think, though they are mostly in my head and not so much in my garden yet. I'm just starting out. Definitely xeriscape as the summers are hot and dry here, organic, and I really want my garden to be a haven for wildlife. I like a lot of colour, and hope to have less and less lawn.

Absolutely gorgeous pictures!