Dutch Gardening is Small Space Gardening Made Beautiful

Have you heard about Dutch Gardening yet?  According to Wikipedia, "The Dutch garden is distinguished by its dense atmosphere and efficient use of space. On an international level, a garden with tulips is also easily labeled as a Dutch Garden."

The placement of flowers and shrubs in the Dutch garden is non-linear and informal, though still efficiently making use of space and light.  

Dutch Gardening comes from  the Netherlands, which is one of the most densely populated countries.  For this reason, gardens are generally small - and because houses are placed right next to each other, there is not very much light available. These restrictions made it necessary for a distinguished style of garden design to be developed.

It sounds like Dutch Gardening is not that different than Square Foot Gardening  except that in Dutch Gardening there are no little squares to put plants in.  At least, that's what I thought at first after reading the online dictionary explanation of a typical Dutch garden. 

However, Dutch Gardens in the Middle Ages (500 - 1550) were more functional than pretty.  They usually consisted of vegetables, fruits and herbs.  These gardens were square or slightly elongated rectangle, and usually divided by a cross-shaped path with something placed in the center of the cross (like a water feature or tree).  This square shape was then subdivided into smaller beds to separate the plantings (is this starting to sound familiar yet?) 

The Dutch Classical Garden (1630 - 1690) was also a big hit.  This time, gardeners everywhere started to incorporate designs into the gardens.  The Dutch classical garden was surrounded by walls, or hedges.  It was then divided into several mazes, shapes and designs.  Low growing ornamental plants were used during this time period, mostly thyme, carnations, chamomile and other flowering plants. 

Again, it looks like fountains and small water features were used.  Normally, they were slightly hidden in the flora so people thought they were finding something special when they noticed them. Dutch Gardens started to become beautiful pieces of artwork with their elaborate designs and careful color placements.

Today, there are a few different recommended plants for this garden, if you're serious about putting a little Dutch culture into your garden; here are the sort of plants to consider: 

Tulips, Anemones, Calla Lily, Narcissus, Roses, Snowdrops, Crocuses.

I was surprised to see Roses on the list because my roses tend to grow tall and out of control sometimes.  You will have to remember to select the smaller varieties in order to maintain the small space gardening concept.

I think the largest Dutch Garden is the Keukenhof Garden in Lisse, Holland. If you ever get to Holland, it's a must see!

Most of the pictures of Dutch gardens that I've seen have seen are very colorful, which is why they are so popular.  In some gardens, there are quite a few colors put together in a very small space.  Most of them include several varieties of blue flowers as separators, making the reds and yellows really stand out! 

After looking at a bunch of Dutch Garden pictures - I'm dying to get a hold of some of those blue flowers!

I'm really not sure where the "informal" part comes from in the online description.  It seems to me that the colors and plants are all plotted carefully to make a visually appealing Dutch garden.  If photographed, many of them would make an excellent picture for over the fireplace. 

One possibility is because there are a lot of plants in one space; I'm just not sure, but what I do know is that a small Dutch garden will appear someplace in our yard this year!

Get a Free Dutch Garden catalog at Dutch Gardens!


Dutch Gardens, Inc.

See also:

Setting Up a Square Foot Garden


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