Valentines day is fast approaching and the thoughts of how to express our emotions through gifts can fill us all with dread.
A romantic garden may be just the answer, it will be a token that will last, can be enjoyed together and can remind us of our loved one during separation.
My idea of a romantic garden conjures images of winding paths with hidden seating next to flamboyant scented blooms. But this image is only one idea of romance our idea of a romantic garden has been influenced through history by several high profile landscape movements.
The romantic movement created landscapes of flowing fields, lakes and woodland dotted with the odd temple ruin this is how most of us believe our country estate grounds should look. These very artificial landscapes were created by names such as capability brown and many survive to this day.
Another very English idea of romance is the rustic cottage garden filled with bursting borders it is very relaxed whereas another idea of romance may be a formal garden with clipped box hedges. Both will have the feeling of strolling along on paths wide enough to hold hands, getting lost along some hidden adventure.
Romantic gardens around the world have been influenced by the English idea of romance. Japanese gardens move through traditional replication of nature into a sudden introduction of pagodas, stepping stones and vistas. These influences begin the ‘Modern romantic garden’ movement that came into being around the time that western society began to have influence over Japanese culture.
French gardens or jardin anglais were influenced by English gardens but kept their sense of identity by introducing their own theatrical presence. Even here rustic idyls, moving water and tents provided focal points and romantic hideaways.
Italian renaissance landscapers took their influence from roman gardeners but again the introduction of water usually fountains and hidden groves play an important part of what makes it romantic.
So if you decide to create a romantic garden for your loved one a winning recipe seems to be:
Winding paths wide enough for two
1 Running water (fountain, stream or river)
1 Covered seating preferably half hidden but with a view.
Planting that is scented, flowering or moves in the breeze.
Bridges, stepping stones or gothic ruins.