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Creating A Knot Garden

If you live in an arid landscape, or wish you did, perhaps building a knot garden is the best way to transform your back yard.

The knot garden came into being in Tudor, England, during the time when gardens were designed with intricate patterns of lawn hedges, intended to be viewed from the mount, or raised walks. The spaces between the hedges were often filled with flowers, shrubs or herbs.

Inspired by embroidery, knot gardens are formal and symmetrical. The Early Show's gardening guru Charlie Dimmock says it is therefore important to check all your measurements to make sure they conform to the pattern.

On Thursday morning, she explains the elements you need to make two types of knot gardens, and demonstrates how to create a small herb garden.

Elements for Hampshire, England, Knot Garden:

  • Concrete paving designed to look like brick paving on webbing.
  • Butterfly Lavender, Violas, Heucheras, Helichrysum, Rosemary Miss Jessop, and Salix (weeping willow)
  • Draining sand to go underneath the central feature, the willow tree.

Elements for New York Heb Knot Garden:
  • Purple Basil, Thyme, Mint, Fennel, Parsley, Sage, Grass, Miniature roses, and Moss.

Says Dimmock, "When you are placing the hedging for a knot garden you don't want to have it too far apart because it will take quite a long time to fill in the gaps."

Dimmock planted the lavenders six inches apart for the knot garden she designed and built in Hampshire.

She says, "You want to use plants that are slow growing...you could also use miniature roses, which isn't traditional. Normally you would use some sort of herb."

Plants like lavender and rosemary are what Dimmock uses. To plant the lavender, she recommends not digging a long trench to plant them all at once, because the plants will go out of line. Instead, she suggests digging and planting one at a time.

Place the plants symmetrically. She used purple heucheras, dicentras and helichrysum, to have a theme of very calm colors: soft silvers, purples and pinks.

Dicentra has several common names, like "bleeding heart" and "ladies in the bath," because if you tip one back it looks like a lady sitting in the bath with a hat on, Dimmock explains.

Next, she plants the violas, commonly known as pansies, around the other plants. She uses 13 of these annual plants on one side and 13 around the other to make it symmetrical.

The finishing touch is a weeping willow. She uses salix carpria. Dimmock says it "has lovely silver fluffy buds in the spring so it makes a central feature. You could, if you wanted plant a central rose, birdbath, apple tree, whatever takes your fancy."

The garden took Dimmock two hours to build and it cost $300.