This is a beautiful formal garden that you don't normally see in demonstration gardens. It's a knot garden. It's based on the Italian Renaissance theme of having a lot of geometry and symmetry in the garden.
Actually, traditional knot gardens would be have the plants interwoven, so this is more like a parterre garden where they have different rooms created by the little hedges. Look at all of the different colors you can have though, without a lot of flowers. There's really only one flower in this whole garden, but they are using the nice green boxwood hedge on the outside to create the circle. They use barberry to create the square on the inside. And then more boxwood that are shaped more like little pyramids. You also have some of little golden barberries outlining it too, and you're getting nice color and contrast of foliage and shapes and textures with only one plant, alyssum, that's in flower.
Now once you have something like this created you need to stay on top of the care. It's kind of like bonsai, you're really going to have to be trimming the hedges, maybe even weekly, to keep the boxwood hedges under control because you don't want them to get too big.
And, of course, you have to keep the plants well watered, fertilized and mulched. Here they're using some white stone to keep the area mulched, which is nice, but you do get weeds coming up. So it does require some maintenance, but it's a very attractive geometric shape to have as a focal point for your back yard garden.
By Charlie Nardozzi
PO Box 4508