Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Kitchen Garden

"The Knotte Garden Serveth for Pleasure:
The Potte Garden for Profitte."
- Horman, 1519

Talking of herbs, here is some history that we hope you will find interesting. The above quote dates back to the sixteenth century and charmingly describes the value of a herb garden at that time. They were not only aesthetically pleasing, but practical. The herbs were not only something nice to look at whilst they were growing, but were put to good use either for culinary, medicinal or purely cosmetic purposes once they were cut.

In fact, the idea of a Kitchen Garden goes back to the very earliest of times when monks in medieval monasteries grew herbs for medicinal purposes. Heather has just completed a kitchen garden for one of her clients and her herb knot garden was inspired by the European designs of the Mediterranean Renaissance and the majesty of Elizabethan England.

Knot gardens or Parterres gained popularity with the nobility during the European Renaissance and garden designers in the sixteenth century would organize kitchen gardens not only into squares and rectangles, but into exquisitely complex geometric patterns, often outlined in boxwood or herbs. Elizabethan Gardeners used lavender, germander and sage to lay out their knots, but boxwood became the plant of choice by the seventeenth century and they would often fill the spaces between the clipped outlines with colored sands or gravel. These spaces would either be left blank or filled with flowers or herbs. Parterre gardening declined in popularity by the 1700s but was revived in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries along with the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture.

Heather chose to outline her knot garden with boxwood and fill the spaces with herbs. Surrounding the knot are a variety of lavenders, which not only provide height, but fragrance.

No comments: