Knot Garden Time

It is time.

The brief shining moment of time in the knot garden.

It began like this, April 4, 2010.

One week later it was this…

…then came this…


…and this.

The ascension to the peak…

…results in a glorious climax of blooms.

Like the purest feathered wings of a rare bird, briefly unfurled in its aerial climb to the sun…

…the symphonic cymbals clash together in the crescendo finale…

…until next year.

The players in this epic are Tulipa viridiflora ‘Spring Green’ and Paeonia ostii ‘Phoenix White’, in Chinese ‘Feng Dan Bai’.

For more information about the tree peony see the post of 2009:

White Tree Peony Identity Discovered

For more information about the knot garden design see this post of 2008:

The Knot Garden


This entry was posted in before and after, Design. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Knot Garden Time

  1. gittan says:

    It looks magnificent! That’s another beautiful place in your garden Frances!

    Thanks Gittan. This is the moment in the spotlight for the knot garden. It is hoped that the lilies planted and showing in the pyramids in the center will allow it to stage a comeback this summer. 🙂

  2. Edith Hope says:

    Dear Frances, This is, I should imagine, such a peaceful oasis in your garden. I love the sense of enclosure and the fresh elegance of the green and white scheme. Tulipa ‘Spring Green’ is one of my favourites and one which I grow in my own garden. Yours here, en masse, look wonderful.

    Hi Edith, thanks. The knot garden is very different from every other space here, demure and elegant rather than wild unbridled chaos. A fitting spot for the zen garden just the other side of the hedge as well. As I answered to Jean’s comment, the original planting was to be both pink and white viridiflora tulips, not one pink ever came up. The whites have been spread over the years to fill in the gaps. Spring Green is a very fine tulip. 🙂

  3. Beauty of fleeting!

    Oops, meant to say beauty is fleeting, don’t know how that happened, need more coffee, lol.

    Hi Deborah, so true. I left your correction because it made me laugh. 🙂

  4. Paddy's Daughter says:


    Thanks Susan. Glad you liked the show. 🙂

  5. Randy says:


    Those tulips are perfection in the knot garden!
    Gardens are such living things and change daily, to enjoy only a few moments in them is joy.

    Hi Randy, thanks. They are so very changing. The photos of the same spot from year to year shows that well, always different with a different star as time passes. Very joyful indeed. 🙂

  6. So beautiful, and what gorgeous tulips, the colours remind me of my Peruvian daffodils.

    Thanks, Linda. Oooh, Peruvian daffodils are delicious! I have never grown them, thinking they were not quite hardy here, but son Brokenbeat has them in Asheville. Maybe they should be tried? 🙂

  7. Les says:

    Very nice! I love the blush of green on the tulips. Have a great week!

    Thanks Les. Those viridiflora tulips are special and have returned well in this sunny very well drained spot. Why haven’t I planted more of them in the rest of the garden? lol You too enjoy your week. 🙂

  8. Joy says:

    Frances girl I envy your knot garden ! I love that it is flanked by white like that .. they are gorgeous flowers right till the end : )
    That was morning light you shot the pictures in wasn’t it ? so pretty .. the best light of the day other than twilight.
    If I had more room .. I think I would have to replicate your plan here because it is perfect ! LOL
    Joy : )

    Hi Joy, thanks so much. This is the very first garden set up here, while the back hoe was still excavating for the addition on the main house. Everything was chaos, and I was measuring out the quadrants to help keep my sanity. The first shot was morning light, my favorite time of day. 🙂

  9. Willow says:

    I just love the pictures. Your garden is so beautiful. I just wanted to let you know I am blogging again. My old blog was deleted and I lost everything and I had to start a new one. If you would like to join my new blog I would love it.


    Thanks Willow and congratulations on the new blog. I will fix the link in my sidebar and come visit as soon as time allows. 🙂

  10. Darla says:

    I bet you love sitting on that bench and admiring the fruits of your labor. Beautiful.

    Hi Darla, you are right on the money! lol It is a favorite spot, one of the few where we actually sit for any time more than a minute or two. It might be a minute or five on this bench. 🙂

  11. tyziana says:

    It’s fantastic!!
    What beautiful pictures and very refined. Your garden is confirmed as always a beautiful setting with very good taste. The green and white tulips are very chic and I love the white and green borders.
    Certainly a great satisfaction these blooms!
    I love verticalizations created by trillage. Much of scenic effect. very great!

    Hi Tyziana, thanks so much for those kind words. The white tulips are always a joy each year around this time. The trillage, love that word!, holds great promise. There are three kinds of tall lilies planted below them in shades of orange to meet the summer sun head on. It is hoped that striking photos will be shown on the blog this summer of them. 🙂

  12. Barbara H. says:

    You are as good with words as you are with gardens! Both are poetic…

    Thanks for the lovely experience.

    You are so sweet, Barbara, thank you for visiting. 🙂

  13. Laurrie says:

    I love those tulipa viridifloras… the green and white are so understated and elegant, perfect for their structured setting. Less is more, and you’ve got the right balance in the knot garden!

    Hi Laurrie, thanks. The knot garden is a lesson in understatement, a difficult concept for me. I prefer over the top! lol 🙂

  14. Gail says:

    Frances, The Knot Garden is perfect edged with tulips! But the queen has to be your perfect white tree peony~~You’ve captured Phoenix White’s beauty so well and what a perfect spot to have that wonderful sculptural bowl. Sigh, spring is too wonderful sometimes! gail

    Thanks Gail. This is the knot garden’s moment in time, or was, for the tree peony is petal-less now. Even though it lasts such a short time, the Phoenix is one of my favorites. The koi bowl does seem right there, fortunately. It is too heavy to be moved. 🙂

  15. Hi Frances – this is absolutely beautiful. Your use of white against the boxwood hedge is stunning. What a shame that it doesn’t last. Enjoy it while it’s in it’s glory.

    Hi Heather, thanks. The hedge is the only formal element here, a place to rest the eye. It has finally filled in properly after the curly willows at each end were cut down to stubs, allowing the sun and moisture to be enjoyed by the boxwood. The pruning is a back breaker but only happens once a year. Maybe The Financier would be receptive to some training….. lol

  16. Frances–thank you for sharing again! I always show The Musician your Knot Garden to help him with our future design. Our hollies are growing great and since we already have the old gravel for the parking, I hope we can get the raised corner beds built this fall and plant the opposite holly “Fence”.

    Have a great day!

    Thanks so much Cameron, for those kind words and for visiting. Your own knot garden sounds wonderful. It took several years for the boxwood to come around to the vision and finally has achieved its full potential. Worth the wait! 🙂

  17. Rose says:

    Such a beautiful symphony! My compliments to the conductor for such a marvelous arrangement.
    I love the white tulips with the green striping. For some reason, I never think to plant white flowers–always going for something more gaudy, I guess. But I did plant some white tulips a year ago, and I love them. They really stand out amidst all the showier colors. Yours look perfect against the green background of the knot garden.

    Hi Rose, thanks. I may look like a genius for this planting, but as I mentioned to other comments, the original planting was a precise mix of pink and white green tulips. Not one of the pinks ever came up, don’t know why. The white ones were spread to fill in the gaps over the years. Now I am glad they are all white, sort of. The white and pink would also be pretty. There were three other tree peonies planted along the fence, pinks and reds, they never came up either. Someone higher up had a different vision for the knot garden than I did. 🙂

  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What a treat, your knot garden is great. I need to work on my knot garden. Many of the bushes died last summer. I have just stood there and looked at it for some time wondering what I want to do there. Sigh~~ No flash of inspiration has come to me yet.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I am so sorry about the deaths in your knot garden. But is should be viewed as an opportunity to make it even better. The boxwood works very well here, and the tulips, but filling the centers has been ongoing. The lilies in the centers are new last year and Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’ was added as filler. We are hoping that will be colorful this summer.

  19. Very neat! I may have to try the knot garden eventually!

    Thanks Dave. With you keen grasp of geometry, your knot garden would be a wonder to behold. 🙂

  20. Catherine says:

    It’s tree peony time! I love the pure white of the petals, and with the tulips it’s even prettier. I also love that koi birdbath!

    Hi Catherine, thanks. So brief yet so breathtaking, words are inadequate to describe the tree peonies. The robins have taken domain of the koi birdbath. Other, smaller birds must use the various other ones scattered around. Is there meaning there? 🙂

  21. Turling says:

    Wow. Something for the rest of us to strive for.

    Thanks Turling. Having the knot garden, and constantly tweaking its design is gardening at its most enjoyable. 🙂

  22. Tatyana says:

    Frances, this corner of your fairyland looks stunning! I love your knot garden itself, but with these tulips it gets even prettier!

    Thanks Tatyana. When the tulips are in bloom, the knot garden is amazing. The rest of the time it is okay, but nothing compares to the week or so in April when it transforms into the white confection. 🙂

  23. Suzanne says:

    I found your beautiful Tennessee garden recently. was looking for garden blogs in Tennessee and Georgia because I have friends/relatives in both places. I am a lover of white flowers, so this gorgeous post lifted my spirits today! I am in north central Texas, garden about 99% organically, and love old roses, trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, and flowering vines. No blog yet but I am on Flickr as oldroselover. Several of my rose photos and those of a few other flowers are on there. Thanks for the loveliness today! You have a beautiful blog.

    Hi Suzanne, thanks and welcome. I do encourage you to beging blogging. You already have the photos and love of gardening. Be sure and visit Blotanical, a link is on my sidebar, if you have not already. You may join even without a blog and get to know some other garden lovers from all over the world. Do let me know when you take the jump into the blogdom! 🙂

  24. That is my favorite part about gardening….when I can enjoy all of my blooming plants at the same time. Thank you for sharing your beautiful knot garden 🙂

    Hi Noelle, thanks so much. You are exactly right about the timing of blooms. Sometimes, if we hold our mouths just right, it happens according to plan. 🙂

  25. Lona says:

    Wow, Frances all of your tulips are so pretty in your bed. What a beautiful display they make.

    Thanks Lona. It has been a good year for the knot garden tulips this time around. And the boxwood looks good too, but nobody notices that but me. 🙂

  26. GloriaBonde says:

    Frances, just lovely, post card lovely

    Thanks Gloria, glad you enjoyed this special time in the knot garden. 🙂

  27. Pam/Digging says:

    You and I are both posting about ephemeral moments in the garden, Frances. Your knot garden’s tulip season may be brief, but it’s stunning.

    Hi Pam, thanks. Your Penstemon is a beauty and the fields of bluebonnets brought back pleasant memories of our time in Texas. There is nothing like those blue steeples. 🙂

  28. Katarina says:

    Frances, your Knot garden is adorable! Just like a jewel – If I had a garden like that, I would spend all my days admiring it.

    Hi Katarina, thanks so much. The knot garden when the tulips are blooming is the crown of the garden for sure. It does get more than its share of gazing time. 🙂

  29. Oh, I love that birdbath! I’ve been shopping around for hardscape goodies and that one is to die for. Actually, all of these flowers are to die for and so are the pictures. You have quite the magical landscape, Frances. 🙂

    Thanks Kate. That was a good find, if pricey, the granite koi bowl, at a nicer nursery in upper east Tennessee. I bought the metal plant stand to hold it at a big box store, a bargain. This time in the knot garden is its zenith for the year. 🙂

  30. jen says:

    Frances, breathtakingly lovely, Jen

    Thanks so much, Jen. I am glad you enjoyed the knot garden pictorial. 🙂

  31. Patsi says:

    That’s a garden to kill for !
    Wood,stone,water and mucho flowers.

    Thanks Patsi. I believe the zen of the garden shows with the purity of the white peony and tulips.

  32. I have to say that the knot garden is perfectly beautiful…and I love the tulips!

    Thanks so much. I am happy that you enjoyed this special time in the knot garden. 🙂

  33. Chookie says:

    Another lover of your birdbath!

    Thanks Chookie. That is a fine piece of stone work.

  34. I love the green and white color scheme. It looks like a restful retreat. I am sure it is beautiful other times of the year as well, but this is very special.

    Hi Deborah, thanks. This is the best time for the knot garden, but lilies were added last year and the pyramids with onion toppers give it a little more vertical pizzazz for the off season. The hedge has finally filled in nicely and make a big difference as well. Let us not forget the pea gravel mulch, recently spread to stop squirrel digging. 🙂

  35. Beckie says:

    Frances, let me add my compliments to the conductor and to the orchestra! The white and green look very attractive with all your garden art-which I also love. 🙂

    Thank you very much, dear Beckie. Glad you enjoyed the concert. 🙂

  36. Nicole says:

    Totally beautiful!

    Hi Nicole, thanks so much. 🙂

  37. noel says:

    very pretty, i bet it was worth the wait and getting the perfect picture to capture the moment is just as sweet, beautiful

    Hi Noel, thanks. There were so many photos taken of the overall space, none of which were even close to how it appears to the human eye. Sometimes we have to go with what we’ve got. Glad you liked it anyway. 🙂

  38. Helen at Summerhouseart says:

    Your knot garden is perfect! And the tree peony, also perfection. Of course, as a sculptor, I couldn’t help but admire that wonder birdbath.

    Hi Helen, thanks. The tree peony is as close to the perfect flower as any we grow, even more precious because of the short time span of blooming. The koi bowl will outlast the gardener. 🙂

  39. I need to sit there!

    You do have some really stunning tulips, and the white peony…… said it before, wonderful

    Thanks Rob. Since you are into white this year, it would be ther perfect place for you to contemplate life, the universe and everything. 🙂

  40. Here you are!!–still being wonderful and gardening, commenting, and posting informative and gorgeous photos. Hugs to you Frances! It’s all just lovely and wonderful design.

    Hi Anna, thanks. So nice to see you here. Glad you enjoyed the knot garden. 🙂

  41. Layanee says:

    This is surely a gorgeous garden with or without those blooms. Love that tulip with the green. So clean and pure.

    Thanks Layanee for those kind words. It is a nice place to be even without the blooming. I believe it is the sense of enclosure that the hedge gives, a secret room in the garden. 🙂

  42. Your photos are beautiful, really enjoyed the week by week progression. The hardscape design is so cozy, it makes me want to sit there.


    Hi Lisa, thanks so much, I am glad you enjoyed it. The knot garden is a pleasant place to sit, I do it often. 🙂

  43. joey says:

    One of my favorite tulips … stunning, Frances.

    Thanks Joey. It has proven to be one of the best, if not THE best grown here. 🙂

  44. Jean says:

    Frances, What a beautiful spot to sit out and enjoy spring! This seems like a great strategy for dealing with the strappy foliage of tulips: Give them a space to shine and then let the spotlight move to other parts of the garden while the tulip foliage ripens. Maybe someday I’ll create a kitchen garden that goes beyond my current strip of herbs; your knot garden is certainly inspiring. -Jean

    Hi Jean, thanks so much. It is nice to ignore the fading tulip foliage and concentrate on other areas until the lilies bloom. How intuitive you are! 🙂

  45. Grace says:

    Hi Frances~~ My kind of garden. Lots of green structure framing a plethora of blooms with a sprinkling of garden art. Absolutely beautiful.

    Hi Grace, thanks for those kind words. Glad you enjoyed visiting the knot garden at its peak. 🙂

  46. Sweet Bay says:

    The Knot Gardens looks amazing with all of those tulips.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. Tulip time in the knot garden is special here each year. Love that those viridifloras return so nicely, unlike many of the other tulips.

  47. Dee Nash says:

    Oh honey, that was just lovely. I think that is one of your best posts. It shows the ephemeral nature of the garden. Simply lovely.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. I had to double check to make sure it was you! lol I’m glad you liked reading about the knot garden, it is a favorite spot here when the tulips are blooming. Simply. 🙂

  48. sequoiagardens says:

    Ah me! Fleeting beauties are the fairest. (If Shakespeare didn’t say that , he should have!)

    I agree. On both counts. 🙂

Comments are closed.