An English Garden for Shakespeare Enthusiasts

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If you’re creating a garden and need inspiration, look no further than the playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. Parks, universities, and libraries across the world have created their own English garden in tribute to him, and so can you!

Here are a few English Garden ideas:

The literary legend was certainly a botanical enthusiast. Not only did he have his own extensive garden and orchard, but his 37 plays and 154 sonnets also contain almost 200 different references to plants including trees, flowers, herbs, and shrubs. So what type of garden is right for you? You can create Shakespeare garden based on many themes including your favorite plays or favorite quotes.

Some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays reference many different plants. Both the Tempest and Macbeth reference lilies. The play King Lear mentions rosemary and “cuckoo flowers” better known as Lady’s Smock or cardamine pratensis. However, A Midsummer Night’s Dream may be the play with the most botanical references. The play mentions many floral plants like primroses, violets, roses, and honeysuckles. Or you may be inspired by the trees and berries mentioned in the play like cherry, fig, apricot, and dewberry.

You can also let passages be your muse. In Hamlet, Ophelia declares “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love remember. And there are pansies, that’s for thoughts.” Also consider Juliet’s famous line, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other word would smell as sweet.” And in the final act of Othello, Desdemona prepares for her tragic fate singing, “The poor soul sat sighing by a Sycamore tree. Sing all a green Willow.”

For more inspiration, dust off those old Shakespeare books or look to Henry N. Ellacombe’s The Plant-Lore and Garden-Craft of Shakespeare. Also try gathering information from famous Shakespearean gardens like the ones at Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden, New York’s Central Park Conservancy or the Johannesburg Botanical Garden.