Victorian Inspired Plantings in Great Oak Commons

  • June 25, 2021 2:36 PM
    Message # 10699835
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by: Chris Turner, Old Northside Parks Horticulturalist and Resident

    When the first houses in The Old Northside were first built there was a popular style of planting known as carpet bedding.  Fueled by new plants from around the globe, wealthy homeowners and public parks gardeners would arrange plants in elaborate patterns such as Fleur de lis, butterflies or whatever other flights of fancy they desired.  Also known as tapestry bedding or jewel bedding the plants were kept very low to the ground to mimic carpets. As time went on styles changed, parks budgets were cut, and this type of planting became rare.  

    When Great Oak Commons park was laid out in 1990 it was conceived as a Victorian Strolling Park with iron fountain, gazebo and other typical features of the era.  As I have worked on the gardens there I have always thought it would be great to bring a bit of the gardening of the era back. 

    I finally went for it this year in laying out this season's plantings around the fountain at Great Oak Commons.  Using a variety of colorful foliage plants such as coleus, alternanthera, ginger, and flowers such as sunpatiens and cannas, I created a series of arcs, dots, and serpentine lines throughout the beds, a more contemporary take on the style.  Traditionally these plants would have been sheared, pinched and forced into strict geometry.  I don’t have the time or desire to do that to the plants, but I think you will still be able to make out the design as the beds fill out.


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