Knot Gardens – A Thing of Beauty

WELCOME to the 2014  #AtoZ Blog Challenge

Inspired By My Pinterest Boards:  This Year’s Category is GARDENING


Grown since Elizabethan times, patterned after old tapestries, colorful hedges are planted in intricate designs to appear as over and under knots.

On garden tours where there is a knot garden, you will find me slowly walking the gravel paths, camera in hand, breathing in their charm and visual impact. I may wander off, but before leaving the garden, I always return for one last look at a variety of knots that bring me deep pleasure. If you have space, preferably a square or rectangular piece of ground, are willing to carefully plan and maintain these garden gems, your knot garden will be the pearl of great price in your garden. In order to avoid the cash register going cah-ching, I caution restraint in your design remembering all the plants you will need to hedge.

The traditional hedging plants for knot gardens are boxwood, which I have written about for the letter B. (Buxus sempervirens) The compact ‘Suffruticosa’ hold up well with several clippings during the growing season. I can vouch for an American boxwood “Winter Gem” that withstands a North Carolina (zone 7) hot summer.

Knot Gardens need a focal point (see photo above) and if you are lucky enough to have a French urn or glazed pot, by all means use it. The knots might be filled with herbs, roses or plain gravel. Talk to your nursery after an assessment of your soil, do the math….your plants should be set 9-12″ apart, depending on what you are using. Within three years your plants will have grown together and you will be rewarded for all your effort.

160“Winter Gem’ boxwood flushed out in Spring in my garden within three years. Waiting for the new growth to harden off before the first clipping.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in AtoZ Blog Challenge -April 2014 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Knot Gardens – A Thing of Beauty

  1. Liz A. says:

    Pretty. That would be a lovely garden to walk through.

  2. marcy says:

    What a beautiful idea! I love walking through formal gardens. Last summer we enjoyed the gardens at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. This post reminded me of them.

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    They are extremely clever and must take great skill.

  4. meenamenon says:

    thst the first time am hearing of thsi term though i think I have seen these patterns in few gardens

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Lovely Stepheny. Thanks for the tip to harden off new growth before the first clipping.

  6. egyirba says:

    Those are beautiful gardens, Stepheny! Had never heard of knot gardens before. Glad I stopped by! And thanks again for visiting me!

  7. Anabel Marsh says:

    At the weekend I took visitors to Stirling Castle. The 16C knot gardens (King’s and Queen’s) can still be seen in outline below the castle walls.

  8. Roshni says:

    Wow! That looks wonderful and it must have taken a lot of effort on your part to make it that way!

  9. This is lovely! I love your photos and descriptions. I hope you are enjoying A to Z.


  10. Geri J. says:

    Love your blog. But it sure makes me miss my Portland garden. (The A to Z Challenge has introduced me to so many new blogs. Fun.)


  11. melissajanda says:

    Is that last picture of your garden? My husband is the one with the green thumb so we actually do have a beautiful yard. We’ve been wanting to plant something along the fence line, so I’ll need to show him your blog for inspiration. 🙂

  12. The last photo is my garden, one we have left behind that I miss this first Spring away immensely. I have written about the garden with other photos under the category, Stepheny the Gardener. Do bring your husband by again. Tell him I’ll meet him at the garden gate.

  13. Kristen says:

    Those are beautiful! I love the photos you’ve included!

    Random Musings from the KristenHead — N is for Nature (and Nimble)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s