Landscaping: English cottage gardens

21/02/2013 15:19

As Europe transitioned from Roman rule to the medieval period, the tight structure of formal garden design was at passed on in the form of the knot garden style employed in medieval monastery gardens. Renaissance Italy brought back formal garden design on the grand scale, and the reign of Louis XIV witnessed the emergence of the classical French garden at Versailles perhaps the pinnacle of formal garden design.

The beginnings of the English revolt against formal garden design in the time of Johnson cites English poet, Alexander Pope received an additional impetus later from the Romantic movement in literature and art a movement against Classicism and its appreciation for order, discipline and moderation. In garden design the influence of Romanticism translated into an emphasis on using plants to inspire us emotionally rather than intellectually. With its mystical charm and romantic aura, this style reflects its historical roots. It was originally the peasantry that had planted and maintained English cottage gardens. They had done so before it became trendy with more affluent groups. The true English cottage garden of the peasantry was practical, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Thus herbs were common components, used both for medicinal and culinary purposes; and fruit trees, too, were often included. But after English cottage gardens caught on outside of peasant circles (and outside of England, too), their aesthetic properties received most of the attention. One of the most famous English cottage gardens was designed by none other than the French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet (1840-1926). As already mentioned above, art and literature influenced the historical course of garden design in Europe. No discipline exerted a stronger influence on garden design than did landscape painting. Monet is not only an artist who painted landscapes but also someone who was active in garden design. With Monet, the influence went both ways.