missouri botanical garden

Cassidy Moody/ Missouri Botanical Back garden

With the expansion of industrialization, improvements in science and know-how, and the fascination with innovation and unique locations, the Victorian Age grew to become a time of enormous creative imagination and experimentation in the backyard garden. “As public gardens grew to become additional widespread each in England and the U.S., much more individuals fell in love with gardening,” claims Dana Rizzo, senior horticulturalist and designer, South Yard beds in the Victorian district at the Missouri Botanical Backyard. “The rising middle class now had the leisure time and disposable revenue to fill their gardens.”

Things of Victorian structure continue to include elegance and whimsy to contemporary gardens. “You don’t need to have to recreate an overall Victorian back garden to get the really feel,” claims Leslie Harris, licensed horticulturalist and host of the podcast, Into the Back garden. “You can integrate one features or design a corner of your backyard garden with these options without the need of mind-boggling your house.”

Below are the most enduring Victorian back garden style traditions moreover guidelines for how to make them section of your individual backyard garden.

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Topiary and Clipped Greens

Neatly clipped hedges and greens in elaborate designs ended up a regular in Victorian gardens. Historically, topiary was a official aspect in big estate gardens and was viewed as a image of standing. “You had to clearly show off,” claims Rizzo. “Your yard was in competitors with other people, and backyard designers vied with each other for commissions from wealthy clientele.”

Plant this look: If you are not all set to hire a entire-time gardener or deal with the regular routine maintenance of topiary, consider including crops that keep their symmetrical sorts with no trimming, such as round shrubs.

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Tropical and Exotic Plants

Driven by increased exploration and vacation, gardeners had far more entry to a range of new and one of a kind plants from all around the globe. “Plant explorers introduced again unique new seeds and specimens to show at residence less than glass or in a glass conservatory on the estate, although plant breeders experimented with new vegetation,” says Harris. Tropicals, and specially ferns, have been immensely well-known and gave an exotic flair to gardens. Pteridomania, or “fern fever” was at its top in the mid-1800s, with collectors scouring the globe to assistance this new pastime.

Plant this glance: Display screen potted tropicals, such as parlor palm, a Victorian favourite, in containers close to your patio or indoors. Or, plant ferns outdoor in shady areas of the back garden.


For the Victorians, extra was also a lot more! “It was seriously about an explosion of shades,” suggests Harris. “Big, blowsy gardens overflowing with bold, shiny hues showcased new vegetation.” There was not just just one kind of plant employed, but common bouquets provided dahlias, roses, petunias, and especially geraniums. Cottage gardens, which put together bouquets and edibles in an informal fashion, also developed towards the conclusion of the Victorian age.

Plant this seem: Rather of focusing on a particular, restrained colour plan, plant a lot of unique colors of flowers in containers and beds to carry a perception of unrestrained pleasure to your back garden.


“Tightly-planted garden beds have been laid out with plenty of color and pattern,” states Rizzo. “There was a limited ‘pin-cushion’ planting with no bare ground noticeable. Commonly, there were 2 to 3 species of bouquets in the bed to kind a geometric sample. Basically, you’d cram in as lots of vegetation as probable to attain a mosaic effect.” The method also from time to time is referred to as carpet bedding for the reason that the design and style resembles a patterned rug.

Plant this glance: Tightly plant a container for an instantly lush feel, or develop small geometrically-formed beds.

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Statuary, Sundials, Urns and Other Yard Constructions

While statues ended up component of before back garden kinds from Italy and France, the Victorian garden also highlighted statuary, sundials, obelisks, gazing balls, urns and ironwork of all kinds, claims Harris. An ornate trellis, arbor or orangery, exactly where citrus trees were being guarded from chilly weather conditions, also were section of many Victorian gardens.

Plant this search: Include a few ornamental items to punctuate your backyard, this sort of as a pair of urns, which do not always need planted to include design and style.

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Wrought iron turned specifically well-known and was normally applied in fencing or decorative benches. On substantial estates, benches gave you a place to relaxation and admire the yard, says Rizzo.

Plant this glimpse: A yard bench is constantly a excellent way to quit and admire the sights. Also, you can use pieces of salvaged iron fencing as accents or backdrops in planting beds if you really do not want to fence an total location.

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Estate houses would feature a massive outdoor fountain, but a cottage garden may possibly involve a chicken bathtub or two, says Harris.

Plant this look: Tiny wrought iron or concrete birdbaths present a contact of Victoriana devoid of demanding a garden overhaul.

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Victorian cottage yard design and style incorporates a lot of distinct forms of flowers and edibles, and the Victorians experienced a distinctive love for aromatic vegetation these kinds of as lavender, rosemary, thyme and scented geraniums, suggests Elizabeth Fogel, senior horticulturalist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Yard in Richmond, Virginia.

Incorporate this glance: Scented plants are in no way out of design and style mainly because fragrance provides an additional layer of enjoyment to your yard. Plant them in containers, along the edges of hardscape to soften edges, and in beds in large swaths.

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Victorians made mini-habitats to showcase their recently learned vegetation, these types of as alpine crops and ferns, claims Harris. The notion was to mimic what you’d obtain in a normal setting on a stony cliff or mountainside.

Add this appear: While you may well not be in a position to remodel your garden into a mini-mountainside, you can develop a smaller rock backyard garden with vegetation tucked among strategically and artistically put rocks.

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