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How To Design A Knot Garden

What You Need To Know: Designing A Knot Garden

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Knot Garden

Knot Garden

© Foshie

Knot gardens are designed to be a creative challenge for the gardener. They require careful planning and even more careful tending.

Grown since the Elizabethan times, they were often seen at monasteries and upper class estates. Today, they are usually seen only in public gardens. This may be due to the high maintenance that they require to keep them looking their best.

Knot gardens do not have to be that much work however. They can be designed so the contrast of colors and growth pattern of slow growing herbs, help keep the workload to a minimum. If you would like to grow your own knot garden, here are some tips:

  • Create a basic design - Any knot garden has a geometric shape, but the rest is up to you. Some examples of a knot garden can be simple in the actual shape, but carefully planted to highlight form and color contrasts.
  • Simple Geometric Shapes
  • More Geometric Shapes
  • Choose a location that can be looked down upon- The true beauty of a knot garden comes from above. You must be able to look down onto the shape in order to experience the true beauty. Plant your knot garden below a deck or patio, so you have a view from above the plants.
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  • Plan your planting-Draw your design (no matter how simple) out on paper. This makes buying and planting that much simpler, and mistakes or errors can be fixed before you dig one shovel of soil. Use graph paper and a ruler for precise lines.
  • Free Printable Graph Paper
  • Plan your herbs - Knot garden plants must be hardy and tolerant of constant pruning. Choose herbs that have been tried and true for your garden, and avoid costly mistakes. Some herbs that work well for a knot garden:
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Germander
  • Hyssop
  • Mulch well- It comes as no surprise that mulching is important, but in a knot garden, mulch becomes an essential tool. When the garden is mulched heavily, it helps keep the shape sharp and weeds at a minimum. This reduces your workload and gives a lovely contrast of color that makes your garden design pop. Mulch can also help reduce insect damage and create a more finished look while your garden is filling in.
  • All About Mulch
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  • Prune well-You now have a knot garden planted, and the work begins. Pruning or trimming your garden is crucial to keeping your knot shapes looking crisp and attractive. Prune every 3 to 4 weeks during the growing season, knowing that nature may not agree with this schedule, so the gardener's eye is the real schedule. If the year is particularly dry, your pruning schedule may be much longer. No matter what the weather, stop pruning a month before first frost, to allow the plants to harden off and survive the winter.
  • Keep track of your efforts - No matter the size and shape of your knot garden, it is essential that you keep track of your efforts. Use your garden notebook and sketch your design, write what plants you used, how you cared for the garden, and most of all, how it turned out.I also suggest writing down the weather and adding photos of the garden from all angles. This way, you can improve your design or garden schedule as you study the results of your knot garden.

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