What Flowers Are in a French Garden?. In French gardening, particular attention is paid to the way the colors work together to display certain characteristics, including optical illusion, the balancing of light and shade, creatively designed parterres and the enhancement of water elements such as fountains or canals. The Tuileries Gardens in Paris,...
In French gardening, particular attention is paid to the way the colors work together to display certain characteristics, including optical illusion, the balancing of light and shade, creatively designed parterres and the enhancement of water elements such as fountains or canals. The Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France, are a prime example of the principles of French gardening. Each year, planters use 70 thousand bulbs and flowers to carry out the ambitious designs of the head gardener there. Flowers are planted to bloom from May to October, and include hardy perennials, biennials, bulbs and annuals.
Bulbs are often placed underneath trees and large shrubs to provide seasonal filler and extend the short blooming season of many large plants. The rose garden at the Tuileries displays a variety of bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Spring bulbs make the rose garden interesting, even though the roses are not yet in bloom. Fringed or striped tulips give a sumptuous and exotic look to the shrubby foliage. Lilies bloom for most of the summer, and peonies sweeten the air with fragrance.
Annual flowers are used in French gardens to provide color and texture to the ornamental flower beds. The beds, called, "parterres," are divided by pathways and involve intricate designs. The pathways sometimes lead to a focal point such as a statue, water fountain or bench. The flowers the Tuileries Gardens use include cosmos, impatiens, marigolds and begonias to entertain the eye and to add definition to the design. The flowers are placed in ways that demonstrate a respect for order, clarity, simplicity and symmetry. The annuals are planted in May and maintained throughout the growing season.
Hollyhocks, bellflowers and pansies are biennials that are used for texture, form and color in French gardens. A biennial lives its life in the space of two seasons, but some, like hollyhocks, reseed themselves so that a stand comes up and blooms every year. Foxgloves bloom in purple, pink and white. Sweet William, a flower cultivated from antiquity, has dainty pink blossoms that last all summer. Plants provided to the Tuileries are between 70 cm and 1.2 m, or approximately 27 to 47 inches tall.
Hardy perennials endure dry, shady conditions, which makes them ideal for underplanting trees or large shrubs. Irises, geraniums, loosestrife, Japanese anemones and asters are used in abundance at the Tuileries Gardens. Euphorbia and rudbeckia are worthy plants that liven up gardens, and they draw beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Tiarella, an evergreen plant that has creamy, white early summer blossoms benefits gardens by discouraging weed growth. Some perennials, such as globe artichokes, give gardens a dramatic effect. The silvery-green plants grow 4 to 5 feet high and bloom large purple thistle-like flowers.
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