What Sort of Flowers Should I Plant for an Old Fashioned Garden?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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An old fashioned garden is a flower garden which explodes with a riot of largely undisciplined color every spring. Many homes in England have old fashioned gardens along with more formal gardens, and they are traditionally viewed as a place to relax, enjoy the scents of the garden, and get outdoors. Interest in old fashioned gardens has been revived in recent years, and gardeners should know that there are no hard and fast rules about what should be planted in an old fashioned gardens. If you enjoy flowers, plant them, and try to avoid making a highly regimented or organized garden.

Most flowers in old fashioned gardens are planted in deep, irregularly shaped beds. The back of the flower bed hosts tall flowers on stalks, while the middle range has shorter plants and bushes, and the front of the flower bed has much shorter ground covers. The size of a flower bed can range widely, from a small patch of color in the midst of a lawn to a huge block, and flower beds can be situated around flowering shade trees, ponds, streams, and other garden accents. Creeping flowers like jasmine, wisteria, old fashioned roses, and passionflower on trellises can also be used to add dimension, shade, and beauty to an old fashioned garden.


Tall flowers in old fashioned gardens can be quite showy, and include hollyhocks, monkshood, bellflower, peonies, larkspur, and foxgloves. Most of these flowers come in a range of colors including purple, blue, red, white, and pink, and they have low, dense foliage and tall flower stalks with drooping blooms. The shapes of these flowers vary; foxgloves, for example, have bell shaped drooping flowers, while hollyhocks have very round, open blooms which point slightly upwards. Most of these flowers can be readily grown from seed, and will reseed themselves each year.

Some examples of medium sized plants, which usually form low bushes, include bleeding hearts, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William, lupines, and cosmos. Some of these plants have upright flowers in colors like red, purple, white, and orange, while others have drooping bell-like flowers, like the classic white lily-of-the-valley and the bi-colored bleeding hearts. They all provide a nice middle range of height, transitioning between low flowers and ground covers and taller blooms. Taller lilies can also be planted in the middle ground of a flower bed to add distinctive color and a thriving patch of green when the flowers are not blooming.

Some of the shortest plants in an old fashioned garden have the most lovely flowers. They include jack-in-the-pulpit, forget-me-nots, violets, pansies, primroses, wake robin, small lilies, and an assortment of bulbs. Bulbs can also be planted in the front of the flower bed, and include beautiful and sweet smelling flowers like daffodils, freesia, narcissus, crocuses, and hyacinths. All of these low blooming flowers will continue to bloom through the spring and into the early summer if they are regularly deadheaded.


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Post 1

I have this longstanding crush with English gardens, they just look and feel such a romantic sight.

The beauty of various flowers in bloom is a stunning deviation to the hustle and bustle of the busy city streets.

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