A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cottage Garden Definition

Claude Monet's paintings are so beautiful. My daughter gave me a book with all his paintings and the story of his life in Giverny. I look at it every winter and think about him and how he lived.

The beginnings of the English revolt against formal garden design in the time of a Pope. It received an additional impetus later from the Romantic movement in literature and art -- a movement against Classicism and its appreciation for order, discipline and moderation. In garden design the influence of Romanticism translated into an emphasis on using plants to inspire us emotionally rather than intellectually. In the minds of many Americans, the defining moment of the English revolt against formal garden design is the evolution of English cottage gardens. With their mystical charm and romantic aura, English cottage gardens exhibit a style that is the direct result of having been born of these historical movements.
Romanticism not only focused on the emotional, but also placed the hitherto despised peasantry up on a pedestal. And it was originally the peasantry that had planted and maintained English cottage gardens. They had done so before it became trendy with more affluent groups. The true English cottage garden of the peasantry was practical, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Thus herbs were common components, used both for medicinal and culinary purposes; and fruit trees, too, were often included.
But after English cottage gardens caught on outside of peasant circles (and outside of England, too), their aesthetic properties received most of the attention. One of the most famous English cottage gardens was designed by none other than the French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet (1840-1926). As already mentioned above, art and literature influenced the historical course of garden design in Europe. No discipline exerted a stronger influence on garden design than did landscape painting. It was a case of "life imitating art," if you will. Monet is a particularly interesting case, being not only an artist who painted landscapes but also someone who was active in garden design. With Monet, the influence went both ways.
English cottage gardens, with their wild abundance of rose bushes, perennial flowers, vine-covered arbors, and plants tumbling over walkways, are widely emulated in the U.S. This is an informal style meant to evoke a mood of light-hearted gaiety. The eye feasts on a diverse jumble of flowering plants, distributed in a seemingly haphazard manner, evoking thoughts of a "natural landscape." The plants themselves are just as important as their use in the overall composition, and the wildness of the arrangement is meant to suggest a closer communing with nature.
My post today is about my garden that is looking more and more like a "Cottage Garden." I put this here so we could read about it's origin. It is entirely from the internet.


nancybond said...

Most interesting, and I like: The eye feasts on a diverse jumble of flowering plants, distributed in a seemingly haphazard manner, evoking thoughts of a "natural landscape." That's possibly the best definition of a cottage garden. :)

OhioMom said...

When DH and I walk in the mornings, my favorite gardens are the cottage gardens .. thanks for the history of it's origin :)

perennialgardener said...

Thanks for sharing the history behind the origins of the cottage garden. It was very interesting. :)

Balisha said...

I have always loved looking at English garden pictures. So many of them are in this category. I must say...my husband is the complete opposite...he likes things in their place and very tidy. I always tell him...this way of gardening keeps the weeds down and at our age we need all the help we can get.