Plants for the Arts & Crafts Garden

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photo by Judith Tankard

Photo by Judith Tankard

When luminaries of Arts & Crafts garden design such as William Morris, Gertrude Jekyll, and William Robinson promoted the use of native plants, their purpose for doing so was primarily aesthetic. Plants that belonged with the landscape embodied the values of “honesty and simplicity” that were the hallmarks of the movement, and contributed to a uniqueness of character that Morris and others feared was being eroded by the showy, exotic blooms popular in gardens the Victorian era.

Fast-forward more than a century, and you’ll find that today, the same idea has been embraced anew by environmental enthusiasts, but for a very different reason. Because native plants have adapted to grow in a particular region, they require very little watering or other maintenance, requiring less of a strain on natural resources.

All of this adds up to good news for those looking to create an ideal Arts & Crafts garden—not only will you adhere to the principles of the movement by using native plants, but you’ll also do something good for the Earth, and (perhaps most important) save yourself a bit of time and money on maintenance, too. Check out our charts of some common native plants in each region of the country, and start planning a garden that complements your home and its setting. (Note: For a more complete list by state, go to www.plantnative.org.)