GGG...did you mention a knot garden?

memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)February 8, 2006

I thought I saw a post about you planning a knot garden near your potager??!

I love knot gardens too. The precise shapes, the diversity of texture in such a formal plan/layout. I have been considering combining a knot garden in the center of my potager as a central island that will be surrounded by the raised beds.

I was wondering if you could talk a bit about that? Will you be using boxwood as the outline? Will you be filling the spaces with herbs or flowers? What other plants can you think of that can be used as the outline of the geometric shapes that could be maintained to hold their shape and formality?

I'm not able to use boxwood at my home. I tested it last year (five different varieties) with a knot garden idea in the back of my mind. The sun, cold, winds,humidity, snow etc. here, are just too extreme, and all the boxwood I planted last year is now white leaved and colorless. I can't get lavendar to take here either.

Thanks,

MeMo

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gurley157fs(zone 7/8sc)

Memo, I am going to try hyssop. I too am at odds with lavender. Everyone says I should be able to grow it here but I guess I just don't have the touch. I wanted to try germander. Someone else here mentioned it and I saw beautiful photos of it in a ladies garden in Chicago. She kept hers shaped into a very neat border. After all of the research for REALLY hot and humid areas I settled on hyssop. If it doesn't work then I'll try germander or something else.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 9:02PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

Thank you Gurley, I have been looking at germander too. Here is a most excellent link I found. Plan to spend many hours at this one. I know very little about herbs but this site will make you a fanatic!

MeMo

Here is a link that might be useful: Sara's Super Herbs

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 10:52PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I do plan a knot garden, but near the exit of the "breakfast garden" which would be an ornamental fruit garden/retreat built sometime in the future..lol.

In my mind I can see it edged in dwarf grey santolina. I'd like it to be three stacked shapes, and in the top I think a yellow flowering spanish lavender. You know, the kind with the "ears" (which, you Southern folks should be far more successful with. Don't listen to what anyone says, lavender in the south is very difficult! Except for this one with good drainage and some lime!!). The next tier I'd use dwarf boxwoods or germander as the outline along the edges to contrast with the greys. I have germanders all over my garden and some in part-shade. They need much better drainage and more sun than I have them in. They must be moved.

I'd like the knot garden to be filled with perennial herbs, although I'm stuck for some of the elements in my mind. The backyard flower colors in the area of the knot garden are mainly blue, hot pink and yellow. I'd like to keep the knot garden flower colors in this scheme, but also add a dark foliage. That may have to be with an annual? I don't know of any, say purple foliage perennial evergreen herbs!! Purple flowering thyme would be nice to include..

I was thinking of a Star of David shape?

Memo, I think a knot garden as the central feature to a potager would be beautiful. Great herbs are both the green and grey santolina, the boxwood you mention, germanders..I can't think of others with the structure you might need right now. These take so well to clipping. The green santolina is shorter lived in the South, and I'm not sure of the hardiness.
Think about chives. NOT GARLIC CHIVES. The garlic chives re-seed and do not grow in the same pattern as regular chives. Chives, although abundant growers have flowers, plus they seem to grow in a regular circular pattern from the base of the plant. There are several now that are sturdier listed in Richters catalog. Also The Fragrant Path lists unusual cultivars of chives (for example, I am growing MAUVE flowered garlic chives!!). Another fantastic plant for the Southern (sorry Memo, you can't do it) knot garden is the variegated society garlic (which is edible!!). Memo, see if you can find "curly chives" this is a very dwarf allium which is incredible! The foliage is a blue grey, and it curls around. I do not know if it's edible but it is so unusual and does not grow quickly.
Dwarf calenduals are very nice additions. Areas that are wheeled off or divided are nice with Roman Camomile. Annual window box or dwarf greek basils are fantastic in knot gardens. So uniform in growth!

IF you want a knot garden with water as a central theme, it can be done. How about a raised bed with a fountain in the center and corsican mint dripping over the edge?

So many lovely choices!

GGG

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 12:33AM
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BecR(zone 9 CA 19)

Gurley, one thing about growing lavender---it does NOT like its crown to ge wet (gets rot this way), so no overhead watering. Hope this helps.

Glynnis, I planted Garlic Chives last year from seed (my first time), in the ground---it bloomed white in the fall. What kind of growth pattern will this produce? Did I make a mistake? I also have regular chives in a pot (blooms are blueish lavender in summer).

Becky

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 1:00AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Becky, the garlic chives can be invasive. So either enjoy some of the roots when you make your recipies, or share them with others when they spread. Too useful to remove from the garden, but too wildly in habit for the formal areas.

A nice pea gravel mulch is certainly lavenders best friend!

GGG

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 4:19PM
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BecR(zone 9 CA 19)

Thank you Glynnis. My garden is not formal, so I guess I'll leave it (sure hope I don't come to regret this decision).

Becky

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 7:58PM
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gurley157fs(zone 7/8sc)

GGG, you said your germander needs more sun. Are you growing it as a perennial (I know I spell that wrong every time)?

Can I grow that here in SC in full sun?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 9:50PM
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harper(8)

Becky, I'm not sure if you're talking about lavendar or garlic chives, but the white-flowering chives can easily be controlled by occasionally digging out part of the clump and either giving it away or tossing it in the compost.

Harper

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 10:21PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

I found this photo on Google Images. I love the way they have planted the herbs inside the knots. GGG there is something purple in the front of the picture and it made me think of you.

MeMo

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 12:26PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

GGG, Thank you for sharing your plans with me and for your further thought on what herbs would work for me. You are without doubt the most knowledgeable gardener I know. I appreciate you taking the time. I have written them all down on my ever growing list of things to learn about. I may not get to this knot garden for a year or so but I will continue to try to learn about the herbs and perhaps next winter I will have enough ideas in my mind to get a pencil drawing done of what I want.

MeMo

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 12:47PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Not knowledgeable, obsessed :) Memo.
The photo above is of a partiere (SP?). That is a formally enclosed garden.

Yes. Germander is perennial, full sun, good drainge. I love it to bits, but it needs a new home!

GGG

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 5:25PM
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