Shakespeare garden

Shakespeare garden

A Shakespeare garden is a themed garden that cultivates plants mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. In English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, these are often public gardens associated with parks, universities, and Shakespeare festivals. Shakespeare gardens are sites of cultural, educational, and romantic interest and can be locations for outdoor weddings.

Signs near the plants usually provide relevant quotations. A Shakespeare garden usually includes several dozen species, either in herbaceous profusion or in a geometric layout with boxwood dividers. Typical amenities are walkways and benches and a weather-resistant bust of Shakespeare. Shakespeare gardens may accompany reproductions of Elizabethan architecture. Some Shakespeare gardens also grow species typical of the Elizabethan period but not mentioned in Shakespeare's plays or poetry.

Shakepeare is reputed to have been an avid gardener, though his opportunities in London would have been very limited. [ See [ Illinois State University] . ] In January or February 1631 Sir Thomas Temple, 1st Baronet of Stowe, was eager to send his man for cuttings from the grapevines at New Place, Stratford, the home of Shakespeare's retirement. Temple's surviving letter, however, makes no note of a Shakespeare connection: he knew the goodness of the vines from his sister-in-law, whose house was nearby. [Thomas Temple, "A Document Concerning Shakespeare's Garden" "The Huntington Library Bulletin" No. 1 (May, 1931), pp. 199-201.] The revival of interest in the flowers mentioned in Shakespeare's plays arose with the revival of flower gardening in the United Kingdom. An early document is Paul Jerrard, "Flowers from Stratford-on-Avon" (London 1852), in which Jerrard attempted to identify Shakespeare's floral references, in a purely literary and botanical exercise, such as those by J. Harvey Bloom ("Shakespeare's Garden" London:Methuen, 1903) or F.G. Savage, ("The Flora and Folk Lore of Shakespeare" Cheltenham:E.J. Burrow, 1923). [All noted by Karl P. Wentersdorf, "Hamlet: Ophelia's Long Purples" "Shakespeare Quarterly" 29.3 (Summer 1978, pp. 413-417) p. 414 note 10, and p 416 note 23.] This parallel industry continues today.

A small arboretum of some forty trees mentioned by Shakespeare was planted in 1988 to complement the garden of Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Shottery, a mile from Stratford-on-Avon. "Visitors can sit on the specially designed bench, gaze at the cottage, press a button and listen to one of four Shakespearean sonnets read by famous actors," the official website informs the prospective visitor. [ [ Shakespeare Birthplace trust] .] A live willow cabin made of growing willows, inspired by lines in "Twelfth Night", ["Make me a willow cabin at your gate" (Act I, scene v).] is another feature, and a maze of yew, again to a design of

The major Shakespeare garden is that imaginatively reconstructed by Ernest Law at New Place, Stratford-on-Avon, in the 1920s. He used a woodcut from Thomas Hill, "The Gardiners Labyrinth" (London 1586), noting in his press coverage when the garden was in planning stage, that it was "a book Shakespeare must certainly have consulted when laying out his own Knott Garden" [Brent Elliott, "Historical Revivalism in the Twentieth Century: A Brief Introduction" "Garden History" 28.1 (Summer 2000, pp. 17-31) p 21 ] The same engraving was used in laying out the Queen's Garden behind Kew Palace in 1969. Ernest Law's, "Shakespeare's Garden, Stratford-upon-Avon" (1922), with photographic illustrations showing quartered plats in patterns outlined by green and gray clipped edgings, each centered by roses grown as standards, must have supplied impetus to many flower-filled revivalist Shakespeare's gardens of the 20s and 30s. For Americans, Esther Singleton produced "The Shakespeare Garden" (New York, 1931). [Eleanour Sinclair Rohde, "Shakespeare's Wild Flowers" (London: Medici Society 1935), combines two gardening interests, the Shakespeare garden and the "wild garden".] Singleton's and Law's plantings, as with most Shakespeare gardens, owed a great deal to the bountiful esthetic of the partly-revived but largely invented "English cottage garden" tradition dating from the 1870s. [Jane Taylor and Andrew Lawson, "The English Cottage Garden"; Philip Edinger, "Cottage Gardens": "In their lush celebration of color, form, and fragrance, the flower-filled cottage gardens we admire today are a far cry from their medieval English forebears..."] Few attempts were made in revived garden plans to keep strictly to historical plants, until the National Trust led the way in the 1970s with a knot garden at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire, and the restored parterre at Hampton Court Palace (1977). [Elliott 2000:22.]

An early Shakespeare garden was added in the anniversary year 1916 [The tricentennial of Shakespeare's death.] to Central Park, New York City. It included a graft from a mulberry tree said to have been grafted from one planted by Shakespeare in 1602; that tree was cut down by Rev. Francis Gastrell, owner of New Place, however [An episode noted in James Boswell's, "Life of Doctor Johnson".] The tree blew down in a summer storm in 2006 and was removed. This garden is located near the Delacorte Theater that houses the New York Shakespeare Festival, but it no longer contains plants mentioned in Shakespeare's plays.

The rich weave of associations engendered by Shakespeare Gardens is exemplified in the Shakespeare Garden of Cleveland, Ohio, [ Shakespeare Garden] where herb-bordered paths, converge on a bust of Shakespeare. The requisite mulberry tree was from a cutting sent by the critic Sir Sidney Lee, a slip said to be from a slip of the mulberry at New Place. Elms were planted by E. H. Sothen and Julia Marlowe, oaks by William Butler Yeats, and a circular bed of roses sent by the mayor of Verona, from the traditional tomb of Juliet, planted by Phyllis Neilson Terry, niece of Ellen Terry. Birnam Wood was represented by sycamore maples from Scotland. The sundial was Byzantine, presented by the Shakespearean actor, Robert Mantell. Jars planted with ivy and flowers were sent by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Rabindranath Tagore— as the "Shakespeare of India"— and Sarah Bernhardt.

The Shakespeare Garden inaugural exercises took place on April 14th, 1916, the tercentenary year... E. H. Sothen and Julia Marlowe were guests of honor. After speeches of welcome by city officials and Mayor Harry L. Davis, the orchestra played selections from Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream," and the Normal School Glee Club sang choral setting of "Hark, Hark, the Lark" and "Who Is Sylvia?" A group of high school pupils in Elizabethan costume escorted the guests to the garden entrance and stood guard during the planting of the dedicatory elms.... Miss Marlowe climaxed the proceedings by her readings of Perdita's flower scene from "A Winter's Tale," the 54th Sonnet of Shakespeare, and verses from the Star Spangled Banner. Her leading of all present in the singing of the National Anthem brought the impressive event to a close." [ Shakespeare Garden]

In later years the Cleveland Shakespeare Garden continued to be enriched at every Shakespearean occasion. Willows flanking the fountain were planted by William Faversham and Daniel Frohman. Vachel Lindsay planted a poplar and recited his own Shakespeare tribute. Novelist Hugh Walpole also planted a tree. Aline Kilmer, widow of the soldier poet, Joyce Kilmer, made a visit in 1919, and the actor, Otis Skinner and the humorist, Stephen Leacock. David Belasco came to plant two junipers.

The conventions of Shakespeare Gardens were familiar enough in the 1920s that E.F. Benson sets the opening of "Mapp and Lucia" (1931) in the not-quite-recently widowed Lucia's "Perdita's Garden" at Riseholme, in words that epitomize Benson's dry touch::"Perdita's garden requires a few words of explanation. It was a charming little square plot in front of the timbered façade of the Hurst, surrounded by yew-hedges and intersected with paths of crazy pavement, carefully smothered in stone-crop, which led to the Elizabethan sundial from Wardour Street in the centre. It was gay in spring with those flowers (and no others) on which Perdita doted. There were 'violets dim', and primroses and daffodils, which came before the swallow dared and took the winds (usually of April) with beauty. ["..."Daffodils,:That come before the swallow dares, and take:The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,:But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes:Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses,:That die unmarried, ere they can behold:Bright Phœbus in his strength, a malady:Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and:The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds." ("The Winter’s Tale", IV,4)] But now in June the swallow had dared long ago, and when spring and the daffodils were over, Lucia always allowed Perdita's garden a wider, though still strictly Shakespearian scope. There was eglantine (Penzance briar) in full flower now, and honeysuckle and gillyflowers and plenty of pansies for thoughts, and yards of rue (more than usual this year), and so Perdita's garden was gay all the summer.

:Here then, this morning, Lucia seated herself by the sundial, all in black, on a stone bench on which was carved the motto 'Come thou north wind, and blow thou south, that my garden spices may flow forth.' Sitting there with Pepino's poems and "The Times" she obscured about one-third of this text, and fat little Daisy would obscure the rest... "

hakespeare's flora

The best known reference in Shakespeare of plants used for symbolic purposes, aside from passing mention, as in "Romeo and Juliet", "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." [ [ On-line text] ] ] is Ophelia's speech from "Hamlet":

: "Ophelia": There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love,: remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts.

: "Laertes": A document in madness! Thoughts and remembrance fitted.

: "Ophelia": There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you,: and here's some for me. We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays.: O, you must wear your rue with a difference! There's a daisy. I: would give you some violets, but they wither'd all when my father: died. They say he made a good end. [ [ On-line text] ]

Shakespeare also uses plants for historic symbolism, such as the plucking of red and white roses in "Henry VI, Part I" to foreshadow the dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the Roses that would end the king's reign. All the plants Shakespeare names in his plays are mentioned in classical medical texts or medieval herbal manuals. [ [ Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Environmental Protection, site] ]

List of Shakespeare gardens



* "The Plant-Lore and Garden-Craft of Shakespeare" by Rev. Henry N. Ellacombe (second edition 1884, out of print)
* "Shakespeare's Wild Flowers: Fairy Lore, Gardens, Herbs, Gatherers of Simples and Bee Lore" by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde (London: The Medici Society, Ltd. Great Britain 1985)
* "Shakespeare's Flowers" by Jessica Kerr (Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York, 1969)
* "Fantastic Garlands: An Anthology of Flowers and Plants from Shakespeare" by Lys de Bray (Blandford Press: Poole, Dorset 1982)
* "The Shakespeare Garden" by Esther Singleton (William Farquhar Payson, New York, 1922, out of print)
* "The Flowers of Shakespeare" by Doris Hunt (Webb & Bower Exeter, England, 1980)
* "The Renaissance Garden In England" by Sir Roy Strong (Thames and Hudson Ltd, London 1979, republished 1998)

External links

* [ "Shakespeare’s Flowers,"]
* [ "Shakespeare's Garden,"] an online quiz
* [ Images and quotations from a Shakespeare garden in San Jose, California]
* [ List of quotations from Purdue University]
* [ "The Shakespeare Garden: Plants in Shakespeare’s Works"] by Penny Duchene-Carson, Colorado State University
* [ Northwestern University Shakespeare Garden, Northwestern University Archives, Evanston, Illinois]

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