Knot gardens in your average American garden always seem to me to a be bit of a trick. In their most traditional style of implementation…they come across as a little pretentious (IMO), slightly old-fashioned and unless you have a house that looks like an English Manor with a gardening staff to accompany it…they are are probably too high maintenance for the average homeowner.
But taking inspiration from the classic Knot garden – these modern looser versions are much more achievable and appropriate. This one by Eckersly Garden Architecture in Australia, uses sedum and a variety of drought tolerant grasses to create simple patterns.
The Filoli Knot Garden, while being precisely the kind of place you might expect an old-fashioned, clipped-tight Knot garden, takes the idea in a looser direction by using plants that don’t need the clipping and it is their looser form that gives this knot movement. The lavender and berberis appear in glorious drifts that also happen to be pleasingly symmetrical
Some of the plants used in this garden:
- Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ –English Lavender
- Berberis thunbergii ‘Crimson Pygmy’ – JapaneseBarberry
- Ballota pseudodictamnus – Woolly Horehound
- Teucrium chamaedrys- Germander
- Rosmarinus of icinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’ – Rosemary (topiary standards)
Here is a looser example that uses a variety of berberis and boxwood from cherry gal.
And another completely achievable version from dry stone gardens.
I’m a huge fan of Sedum – it is simply stunning through New England autumns and am thinking to use it to even greater effect in a loose knot. Besides Lavender, Berberis, Santolina, grasses and some of the other plants mentioned here, I am wondering if you have experimented with loose knots and found any plant treasures to make them more modern, low maintenance and achievable for modern homes?
Images: by Tobi, Eckersley Gardens, Landscape Focus, Filoli Knot Garden with Lavender from Naturetime by Pam and Richard, cherry gal, dry stone gardens.