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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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A Room in a Park

Large estates usually include vast areas of parkland that need to be landscaped. Land owners have choices here. They may opt for flowing parkland where the eye and the body move seamlessly from one section to another or they may choose to subdivide the property into several themed gardens. If there are young children in the family, perhaps a play area is needed, or even a section for a swimming pool.

In Europe, over the past 400 years, parklands on many estates were divided into self contained spaces each with its unique design elements or functions. Sometimes these sections, or rooms, would be delineated by walls, trees, or rows of neatly clipped boxwood shrubs. Within the confines of each room, the wall or row of shrubs that created its boundaries would become the backdrop against which a wide flower garden would be planted, or against which a game of croquet might be played. Here the  straight lines would be broken by the strategic placement of perennials that would undulate along the wall, and spill over the edge of the flower beds onto the path or grass.

While visiting any one of these estates, it is possible to move from one section whose theme is soft impressionist colors, to another where vibrant colors prevail. One “room” might be devoted to roses; while another might be an elaborate herb or crop garden. And yet another section might be devoted to harvesting cut flowers. Sometimes, a garden room might be devoted to a specific color, creating a monochromatic garden. The photographs above are aerial views of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle in the UK. Notice the pattern created by shrubs that delineate and divide one themed area of the garden from another. One of the areas in this vast garden space is named the White Garden and is filled with shrubs, trees, and perennials all of which blossom in white. An astute gardener recently observed that this garden is misnamed. He suggested that this room should be called the Green Garden because the foliage of all the plants that grow here create a persisitant green environment even when the plants are not in bloom.


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Reader Comments (1)

I love those beautiful gardens. I would so love to have an estate amount of money to go with my 5 acres. Then I too could have something so dramatic. How fun!

May 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

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