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18th Century period garden

Georgian garden at the Geffrye Museum photographed by Jayne Lloyd

18th century period garden - photography Jayne Lloyd

Town gardens were increasingly seen as an extension of the house, a place for recreation and entertainment. The evidence indicates that the prevailing taste was for simplicity and tidiness, with ornamental gardens featuring paved and/or rolled gravel paths, geometric beds with box edging and the use of evergreen shrubs, often clipped and kept distinct from one another. Plants were spaced regularly, with expanses of exposed earth between them. Bulbs and annuals, planted in neat groups between the perennials, were prized for their colourful, delicate or scented flowers. Potted plants, which could be moved around as desired, were also popular.

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Key plants include:

Popular evergreen shrubs, often clipped in shapes

Box, common (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’)
Holly, common (Ilex aquilfolium)
Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Privet (Ligustrum vulgare sempervirens)
Yew (Taxus baccata)

Shrubs and climbers

Fig, common (Ficus carica)
Hibiscus syriacus double
Honeysuckle (Lonicera x americana)
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Lilac, Persian (Syringa persica)
Passion flower, blue (Passiflora caerulea)
Viburnum laurustinus
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Roses

Apothecary’s Rose (Rosa gallica var.officanalis)
Common Moss Rose (Rosa x centifolia ‘Muscosa’)
Rosa ‘De Meux’ (Rosa centifolia var.pomponia)
Rosa Mundi (Rosa gallica var.officinalis ‘Versicolor’)

Herbs, flowers and bulbs

Bergamot (Monarda didyma)
Fritillaria imperialis
Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus and niger)
Iris florentina
Iris germanica
Madonna lily (Lilium candidum)
Martagon lily
Peony (Paeonia officinalis)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Southernwood (Artemis abrotanum)
Tulip (Tulipa gesneriana)

View the ornamental feature in the 18th century period garden.

See our 360 view of the 18th Century Garden or take the Virtual Tour of the Period Rooms and Gardens.