When I visited Pittsburgh for the Garden Writers Association Annual Symposium a couple of weeks ago, I saw several gardens.
The garden at the Newington Estate, one of the oldest homes in a town twelve miles west of Pittsburgh called Sewickley, was one of my favorites.
This garden dates back to the nineteenth century when the Victorian garden was in style here in America. The garden got me thinking about what after all makes a garden ‘Victorian.’
The book by Katherine Knight Rusk Renovating the Victorian House helped a bit. She includes a section on installing a Victorian garden.
For the landscape design she recommends that you consult Andrew Jackson Downing’s book Cottage Residences (1842) where you will find several black and white drawings of detailed plans for a garden.
You can easily find old varieties of plants for such a Victorian landscape at many nurseries today.
It is amazing that gardens today often include several of the plants she recommends.
For flowers she favors Canterbury bells, dahlia, fuchsia [see them above in containers] geranium, lily of the valley, marigold, nasturtium, rose, salvia, and tulip, to name just a few.
The trees she lists include dogwood, magnolia, and weeping willow.
Some shrubs in the plant list are boxwood, holly, lilac, and rose of sharon.
The vines she recommends include clematis, English ivy, and wisteria.
I am sure you grow may of these plants already in your garden. I know that I do.
The Victorian garden style is still popular today, at least by choice of plants American gardeners use.