Designing a garden is the most challenging part of gardening for most; however, when you have a theme that pulls it all together, the “designer’s block” is quickly lifted. A theme garden can also be a fun way to express your creativity and to indulge another interest along with your love of gardening.
One of the most popular of theme gardens, the moon garden, features plants with white blossoms that remain open at night and plants with white or cream colored variegated leaves. White petunias, baby’s breath and chrysanthemums reflect moonlight close to the ground, while white roses and white flowering shrubs add drama to the medium levels. Vines such as the night blooming morning glory (Ipomoea alba) light up the higher levels after the sun sets.
Along the same romantic lines are the rose gardens and Shakespearean gardens (a “Midsummer Night’s Dream is especially fun). Or the theme garden’s focus may be that of a hobby: a model train can pass through forests of dwarf trees, meandering around rock gardens and water features. An animal garden may feature plants with animal names, such as the cattail, and be decorated with statues of animals.
Your theme garden be as formal as a Victorian garden with wrought iron
arches and pruned topiaries or as casual as an English cottage garden with a water wheel. Theme gardens can also be fanciful and fun, such as the music garden where a tuba hanging from a tree branch and drums along the pathway serve as planters.
A theme garden may focus on a type of plant as with a rose or cactus garden, or it may serve a practical purpose as well as an aesthetic one as does an herb or butterfly garden.
Still yet, the theme garden may focus on the manner in which a plant is grown, such as a hanging garden where philodendron and orchids meander down from hanging baskets in a gazebo.
A nostalgic garden could feature flowers such as camelias that were popular in the “good ol’ days” and be decorated with planters made of vintage toys like that little red wagon, while the historical garden would represent a specific time period, such as the Renaissance.
When planning a theme garden, remember that this needn’t rule the landscaping design of your yard. And just as a park has varied gardens, you may have more than one theme garden in your yard. Perhaps you want a moon garden, Shakespeare garden, rose garden and a children’s storybook garden. These may even all tie together into quite a poetic landscape!
Or as some botanical gardens have various geographic themes, depending on your climate, you could have a Southwestern style garden with sweet smelling sage and prickly cactus with a pathway leading under the trees into a woodland glade and so on.
The garden’s perimeters can be defined by things such as arches, gates, pathways, shrubs, stepping stones, decorative signs or small, fences. A theme garden may encompass the corner of a yard, an area along the deck or side of the house, a patio or any other space you choose. Or the theme may lend itself to the entire landscape.