You don't have to have a chateau in France and 6 gardeners to have a special garden. You just need a little space, and a little imagination to create a whole new area in your yard. That's the attraction of the gardens at Disneyland, fantasy and fun in small spaces. Maybe even the fairies will come.
French Gardens French gardens are creations of the intellect, geometric, organized and very satisfying. They range in style from country gardens full of flowers like Monet's famous garden in Giverney, to eloquent chateaux, and finally to the lavish style of the garden of Versailles, fabled palace of Louis XIV.
Classic geometric shapes from ancient Rome form the architectural backbone. The space is divided into beds, often defined by low clipped hedges. Each bed has its own interior design, which may be serpentine or rectangular and is filled with lawn or flowers, vegetables and herbs. The designs are usually complex and colorful, and the plants in the beds are changed often.
However, their design concept can be incorporated into a any garden, by creating a small formal jewel that is precise, perfect and very French. Formal designs are a labor of love, but beautiful and satisfying.
For the small tidy hedges, the most economical are actually privet (which grows to be a 30' tree), but is easily sliced back to about 6 inches high every spring. Others plants that can be kept pruned as small hedges are dwarf spirea or dwarf barberry. The most beautiful small hedge, though expensive would be the new low carefree roses. Or perennials or annuals can be used instead to outline the beds.
The beds can be designed, and filled as the spirit moves you. Monet used masses of flowers and bulbs. Beds may be filled with annuals or roses, or fragile lavender. Vegetables and herbs in neat, complex patterns are famous at the Villandry Chateau gardens. The plants can be different each year, although the geometric shape of the beds remains the same.
The paths between beds should be lawn or stone (laid over a weed-preventing fabric). Usually there is a main center path, with something interesting at the end. Perhaps a beautiful view. Or a wall with a rose covered trellis, with a statue beneath surrounded by flowers .
A mirror in the wall, behind the statue is a trick that visually doubles the space. And finally there must be a bench, or some dark green chairs and miniscule table, for how could there be a French garden without a place to enjoy some cheese and a bottle of wine?