The Victorian Era might be romanticized through both literature and film but it wasn't without its faults and downfalls. While many things created during this era quickly became more of a hindrance than a help, there was one aspect of this time period that only continued to grow in its beauty: gardens.

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The gardens of the Victorian Era are still held in high regard today with teams of knowledgeable gardeners helping to maintain those which still exist around the world. These gardens came out of a time during the Victorian Era when life was a bit easier, a bit more carefree, and people could see through the smoke and appreciate the beauty that existed simply in a flower or plant. This is also a time when people coveted exotic plants and made it a goal to collect as many as they could, leading to enticing (albeit dangerous) garden collections such as Alnwick. However, a majority of the gardens were simply harmless, showcasing the most vibrant and regal of the plant world for all to enjoy. To plant a garden is simple, to plant a Victorian-esque atmosphere, though, takes some time and planning.


The Appearance Of A Victorian Garden

Gardens during this era were a thing of true beauty but also had a level of visual interest to them. The elegance was obvious in the choice of flowering plants but it was the arrangement, and the styles of both the lawn and the fencing used to contain it all, that truly made the difference. For the wealthy, geometric shapes and patterns would often be considered when planting certain flowers. A plant's height and color would factor into where it was placed to create something that was appealing to the eye both from the ground as well as where it would be seen from above. This technique of carefully planning the placement of each arrangement has resulted in some of the most interesting gardens around the world and has inspired many smaller, at-home gardens because of it. This is also where the idea of mosaic gardening came from, with each flower representing a different mosaic 'piece' of the puzzle.

That's not to say that garden beds were nonexistent in a Victorian garden. Gardeners would lean toward this for those who didn't have the money to create elaborate landscapes and, rather, introduced garden beds and formal gardens, which were easier to plan out but just as beautiful. Today, these would be the equivalent of raised garden beds to create separation and interest.

The fencing surrounding a Victorian garden, if any, was one of its most iconic aspects. The Victorian Era is where we get wrought-iron fencing and gates from, and the same fencing that protected a manor or castle was miniaturized and used for gardens, as well. Often, these fences would showcase trailing vines such as roses or flowering vines which interlaced with the fence itself, turning it into a beautiful combination of harsh metal and soft, delicate blossoms. This visual was highly effective when it came to gardening because it created borders but also allowed the garden to maintain its charm and enchanted nature, something many gardens imitate today. Wood fencing, such as picket fences, was a more affordable option but was viewed as outdated during the Victorian Era.

The Flowers That Bloomed From The Victorian Era

Britain's 'Golden Years' happened during the Victorian Era and this period of peace and prosperity, socially and economically, led to the explosion of leisurely gardening - regardless of social class, status, or income. The custom was no longer unattainable to anyone who didn't own a mansion or have a hefty cash flow, which allowed it to be enjoyed by everyone. This is also what led to so many different styles, including bedding, which is what was used for mosaic gardens; flowers that were lower to the ground and bloomed in bright hues were often chosen for this. This method also required a lawn that was well-maintained and manicured often, as green grass served as the backdrop. As opposed to the very precise style of mosaic, the 'Herbaceous Border' garden became popular in the late 1800s by Gertrude Jekyll, a popular horticulturist. The technique here was simple and used height order to create edges along pathways, using smaller flowers first and increasing in size as the rows went back, packing plants close together. The flowers used should be a colorful array of options and must be perennial, which means they'll bloom consistently for at least two years.

What about the types of flowers used? This, of course, was dependent on the funds that were available and the availability of each bulb or seed. One would never find sunflowers, pansies, snapdragons, hollyhocks, or larkspur in a Victorian garden - they were considered old news. Rather, one could look forward to bold, interesting, and unique flower shapes and colors, such as lilies, dahlias, orchids, ferns, gladiolus, and ornamental grasses. Moonflower, morning glories, petunias, sweet alyssum, primroses, and roses would also be seen, and some are easier to keep than others.

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