Dreaming of an English/Texas Garden

From BritsAtTheirBest.com

 English gardens always seem so cool and fresh and charming . . . maybe that’s why I’m craving one just as the brutal heat of summer approaches. I, the novice gardener, am attempting to design a gardenscape for the front of my historical home and I’m hoping for an English garden approach despite the Texas terrain. I found affirmation in an article about various garden styles, which included the English/Texas cottage garden (yes, it does exist). Read more from Garden Stops ”Gardens of the Past”:

Not to be outdone, the country folk in Texas began using what God had given them and stretching it to create their version of a new cottage garden style, called “herbaceous borders”.  Popularized in Europe by an English artist named Gertrude Jekyll, what we now think of as English gardens were probably in America at the same time, only without the garden walls that the English are known for. (On east Texas farms, chicken runs bordered with a picket fence and covered with climbing roses were about as close as you got to a garden wall.) 

From Bhagwan Photos

So now that I know it’s possible, and even historically appropriate to have an English cottage garden, how do I start? For tips on designing and maintaining an English garden, see Country Farm Lifestyles. This article from Best of the Brits gives a history of differing styles of English gardens as well as guidelines for using these gardens as inspiration. Applying all this knowledge to the dry Texas climate requires a bit more insight found in this excellent article by Dr. Ethne Clark, a Brit turned Texan.  Dr. Clark translates a water-wise gardening method learned in England to her central Texas garden, describing the routine from start to finish.

Pioneer Albertine Roses from Antique Rose Emporium

Finally, my current garden resource obsession is the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, TX. They have a show garden and store, but also sell all their roses via mail order. And these are not just any ole roses, these are mostly old Texas, long-lived, easy to grow roses. Many of thier rose varieties are gathered from “rose rustling” where enthusiastis rescue neglected roses in cemeteries or old farm houses. I am in awe of this concept and am convinced I must get me some antique pioneer roses!

Note: Sue, our exterior/landscape designer, is engaged in a very big project right now and will not be able to post very much. In her place, I’m going to pop in as The Novice Gardener to share my experiences, triumphs and failures in establishing my own gardens (yes, I’m attempting veggies and flowers and vines, oh my!)

3 Responses to “Dreaming of an English/Texas Garden”

  1. yep, It is a beautiful garden.

  2. austin landscaping says:

    No fair, I wanna go. Oh well. I agree with Erica, bring what you have and ask lots of questions. By the way, those reddish wood planks in that last image look like ipe, which we have on our back deck and screened porch. It is an awesome product and I highly recommend it.

  3. Bil Mastin says:

    We have restored an old house in south Fort Worth and are trying to incoporate antique roses of which we have 70 Belinda’s dream , and perenials with an occasional tomato plant. The biggest challenge is design and then keeping it watered inour heat. We have put in a lot of drip lines which has helped. Our roses, peonies, and perenials were great last spring and I am looking forward to adding new things this fall not that is isabout to cool down.

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