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Dutch Gardening Is Small Space Gardening Made Beautiful!
By Evelyn G.
I recently discovered something called the Dutch Garden. 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.

Restrictions in the Netherlands (example: houses are placed right next to each other which allowed only a small amount of light to enter), and the dense population made small gardens a necessity.

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:

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

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!

The pictures of Dutch Gardens usually have blue flowers as dividers, I can't wait to put some of those in my garden!

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!

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This page was updated on Nov 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.

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