Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Circles in Garden Design

Circles have been called the ultimate geometric symbol.
From the perfect iris of our eyes, to the roundness of a full moon, the circle turns up again and again in the natural world.

Maybe that's why the circle seems like such a lovely shape for a garden.

The simplicity of this green and white circle garden is so appealing.

Now that we've established the size of our circle-shaped herb garden,
the next question for me to answer is:
How high should that inner circle be?
Our surrounding walls will be built at about eighteen inches, bench sizing for easy gardening.

Above is one of the pictures from my last post.
Here the inner circle is higher than the surrounding gardens.

In the photgraph below, the inner circle is technically higher, but the boxwood hedge creates the illusion that they are close to the same height.

In this garden the center area with the birdbath is at ground level, but the solid form of the stone bath raises and holds the viewers eye level.
I like the very simple shape of the bird bath in the midst of all those riotous flowers.

Here's another example of the inner circle being lower.
Like the example above, the height of the plant inside the inner circle, creates just the right balance - not too tall or too low.

Here the inner circle is lower than the surrounding walls, but it is not at ground level.
It looks like six inches of stone topped by six inches of wattle fencing, and then the soil has been mounded towards the central pot.
This is design has been very thoughtfully constructed and the result is beautiful.

I love the rustic charm of this house and garden.
It's such a great combination - the big inner circle with its casual plantings and wonderful bird house, surrounded by the plain-jane boxwood hedge of the outer circle.

If you're interested in circular gardens,
I've started a board on my Pinterest site with more images and ideas!

Images found here:
Garden Style by Penelope Hobhouse 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Planning the Herb Garden

One of my favorite garden books is
Garden Style
by the well known garden designer
Penelope Hobhouse.
Although the selection of plants suited to my Texas garden is quite different from those featured in most British gardens, learning about garden structure,
and how to relate a garden to its house, is universal. 
This book abounds with wonderful lessons from a gifted landscape artist!

 In thinking about how to organize my herb and vegetable garden, I have returned to this book again and again.  Two photos were particularly appealing.  Both featured a circle within a circle as a key design element.

The first was this garden in Atlanta, Georgia.

And the second was this garden in Somerset, England.
They are both so lovely and so inviting.

 I would like to create a circle within a circle garden in this wedge shaped spot.

These two staircases form the boundary for the herb garden on this side of the yard.
Our landscaper has raised the bed around the pool, and I intend to plant a hedge between this pair of stairs. This will provide a bit of a windbreak by the pool, and a little mystery to the garden below as it won't be easily viewed from the pool deck.
This is the design I came up with:

A sixteen foot circle shaped by eighteen inch raised beds. 
The eight foot openings would look lovely framed with arches of roses.
In the center, where the little black dot is, there will be another circle, about six feet across. 
I think that might be just the spot for the statue of St Fiacre we've been carting around!

If you are in search of garden inspiration,
Ms. Hobhouse's book can be found here: