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Quilt Garden - Today's Parterre

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We have several garden beds at our home which are unstructured and have a natural feel, but I am interested in designing a little 'more formal, but not stodgy' garden that will be next to a patio we are building.

Our 'Bird Garden' with Buckminster & The General

I stumbled across the concept of a quilt garden - a popular attraction of Indiana's Amish country Heritage Trail. I love the symmetry of the flowers and bright colors in these beautiful gardens. As I was looking for inspiration, I decided to capture a few of my favorites in a blog post to share. I also delved into some other symmetrical styles, the knot and parterre garden, which I've also included.

Heritage Trail Quilt Garden (image via Visit Indiana)
Heritage Trail Quilt Garden (image via Travel Indiana)
Menno-Hof Quilt Garden in Fall (image via My Amish Indiana)
Elkhart County 4-H Quilt Garden (image via Hoosier Gardener)
Petunia Quilt Garden (image via Amish Country)


I also remembered some beautiful gardens we have visited in the past which also featured organized plots of color. As I began looking back in time, the concept of sectional gardens has been around for centuries. In 27 BC, Vitruvius, a Roman author and designer, included concepts for garden spaces to be both functional, practical and pleasing to the eye. In the early-mid 16th century, compartimens or knot gardens were planted showcasing shaped herbs in interlacing designs interspersed with sand or flowers.

A Victorian Knot Garden (image via Helmingham Hall)
Contemporary Knot Garden (image via The Garden Club of America)
Contemporary Knot Garden (image via The Oregonian)
Bamsley House Knot Garden (image via Albert Winkler)
Victorian Knot Garden (image via Willowbrook Park)
Herb Knot Garden (image via Kevin McManus)
Circle Knot Garden (image via Proven Winners)
Chateau du Lude Knot Garden (image via French Gardens)


The parterre was developed by Claude Mollet in the late 16th century taking compartimens to a new level by utilizing other types of plants and creating more intricate patterns at French chateaus including Fontainebleau and Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Since that time, parterres have fallen in and out of fashion. Parterres are designed with pathways between sections of gardens which pool plants together in distinct plots.

A Victorian Parterre (Image via Helmingham Hall)
A Victorian Parterre (image via Design Ties)
Modern Parterre by Jarrod Baumann (image via MB Maher)
Vegetable Parterre (image via Home Life Australia)
French Parterre with Lavender (image via Cheap Floors)
Domaine de Villarcreaux (image via The Garden Wanderer)
Modern Parterre Garden (image via Schmechtig Landscapes)


With all of these beautiful ideas of and inspired by traditional garden styles, I'm definitely inspired to start poring through gardening catalogs to choose plants and begin laying out a plan for our 'more formal, but not stodgy' garden. But first, I'm ready for a tall glass of sweet tea and a retreat to the back porch for a break!

Happy Gardening,
Chris

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