In the strictest sense of the term, a Shakespearean garden is that is composed of plants that are mentioned directly in the works of William Shakespeare. In some designs, this definition is expanded to include all plants, flowers, and herbs that were popular for gardening during the Elizabethan period of English history. Regardless of how purist one is with the definition, a few things are distinctive about this style of garden design.
For one thing, it is one of the most flexible garden designs you can invest in. Plants matter more than geometry. This allows us to design layouts that are complimentary to a variety of homes and yards throughout the Houston area. Secondly, these gardens are colorful and aromatic. Thirdly, they are large enough to walk through and enjoy from within, just as they were in Shakespeare’s time.
Shakespearean gardens are very organic. During Elizabethan times, only organic materials were available to maintain garden vitality. The fertilizers we use are custom mixed from organic components and applied at appropriate times as a part of garden maintenance. Irrigation and drainage, however, can be done with modern systems. These systems are carefully concealed to maintain the integrity of the garden’s aesthetic.
You may be surprised to learn just how many landscaping plants were mentioned by Shakespeare during the course of his career. While there is no evidence one way or the other that he himself was a gardener, he certainly knew a great deal about it. Gardens provide both setting and symbolism for many famous scenes in his plays.
In a similar way, a Shakespearean garden establishes setting and significance in a Houston landscaping plan. It typically becomes the favorite spot in the yard for homeowner and guest alike. This is partly due to the beauty of the plants themselves, but it is also due to the aromatic nature of the garden itself.
A great number of the plants mentioned by Shakespeare are actually herbs. This is no surprise, because people in Elizabethan times had no medical supplies or household cleaning substances. They also had limited access to spices because trade routes to the East were only beginning to open up again after centuries of war with the Middle East.
Consequently, herbs were vital to medicine, cooking, and even room aromatics during this time in history. Interestingly enough, they are no less effective for these three applications in our modern world today. People still use herbs to cook with and enhance the aroma of their house. Some people who prefer home remedies also use them for medicinal purposes.
The more popular herbs include rosemary, which is a culinary herb used in many food dishes, including lamb and steak. Rosemary is also used as a symbol of Shakespeare himself in festivals that celebrate him throughout the world.
Thyme is another herb typically planted in Shakespearean gardens. It has medicinal, culinary, and aromatic applications and is seldom omitted from any Elizabethan garden design. Other herbs include Lemon Balm, Calendula, Chives, Summery Savory, Bay, and Parsley.
Shakespearean gardens gain drama and interest from larger plants that lend vertical impact and dimension to the herbal growth around them. Roses, of course, are common in almost every garden of this type because they are so intricately interwoven into some of the plays. Another important plant are Medlar, which is actually a type of fruit, and Violas, which are beautiful flowers that bloom a pinkish purple.
If you want a dominant focal point in your Shakespearean garden that is true to the bard’s work, we can plant you a Mulberry tree. Mulberry trees can grow as high as 40 feet and can create shade in your garden as well as aesthetic centering.