Knot Garden at St Fagans museum of country life, south Wales
Knot Garden at St Fagans museum of country life, south Wales

A knot garden is a garden of formal design in a square frame, consisting of a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs including germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, costmary, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendula, Viola and Santolina. Most knot gardens now have edges made from box (Buxus sempervirens), which is easily cut into desired shapes, like dense miniature hedges, and stays green during winters when not all of the "filling" plants are visible or attractive. The paths in between are usually laid with fine gravel. However, the original designs of knot gardens did not have the low box hedges, and knot gardens with such hedges might more accurately be called parterres.

Most Renaissance knot gardens were composed of square compartments. A small garden might consist of one compartment, while large gardens might contain six or eight compartments.


Knot gardens were based on Renaissance designs that were used in forms of indoor decoration such as textiles, carpets, wall coverings and cushions.[1] They are often designed to be viewed from above and encompass an interlocking or intertwining pattern using clipped common box, Buxus sempervirens.[2]

Unlike like French parterres, knot gardens are usually small and of varying heights where hedges form junctions to indicate the crossing or knotting of 'threads.'[clarification needed][3]


The Knot Garden at the Red Lodge Museum, Bristol.
The Knot Garden at the Red Lodge Museum, Bristol.

Knot gardens were first established in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Some early knot gardens have been covered over by lawn or other landscaping, but the original traces are still visible as undulations in the present day landscape. An example of this phenomenon is the early 17th-century garden of Muchalls Castle in Scotland.

Knot gardens have become established in many temperate formal gardens throughout the world, including:

A knot garden is featured in Shakespeare's play Love's Labour's Lost.

See also


  1. ^ "The knot garden". National Trust. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  2. ^ Coffey, Sally (2015-04-21). "The Tudors and their gardens". Britain Magazine | The official magazine of Visit Britain | Best of British History, Royal Family,Travel and Culture. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  3. ^ "Design: Tudor garden style". The English Garden. 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2021-06-10.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "The Dunedin Railway Station". Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  5. ^ "A Landmark for the 21st century". Astley Castle. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  6. ^ Gloucestershire: the Cotswolds, The Buildings of England edited by Nikolaus Pevsner, 2nd ed. (1979) ISBN 0-14-071040-X, pp.96-100
  7. ^ "The Knot Garden". Helmingham Hall. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  8. ^ Fedden, Robin; Joekes, Rosemary (1984). The National Trust Guide. The National Trust. pp. 155, 257. ISBN 978-0-224-01946-0.
  9. ^ "The Red Lodge Museum". Culture 24. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Visit the Castle Gardens". Sudeley Castle & Gardens. Retrieved 20 June 2020.