Riverbanks' Walled Garden was the first section of the Botanical Garden to open to the public in 1995. This tremendous garden is composed of several smaller themed gardens and contains the majority of our plant species.
The Walled Garden, at nine years old, is not a static garden. As plants have grown too large and been removed, others have taken their place. The garden features a main canal dividing it in half, with fountains at each end. The brick paths and geometric shapes of the beds create a very formal foundation. In order to soften these hard lines, the plants are allowed, and indeed encouraged, to grow over the edges of their beds and to create loose canopies over the pathways. The end result is a labyrinth of secret garden "rooms", each with their own particular theme, and lush plantings where plants are cultivated to intertwine and complement each other.
The Midnight Garden is a delightful area with plants that glow in the moonlight. All of the specimens have either white flowers or variegated foliage, making it an enchanting garden to visit in the evenings. The focal point is a wrought-iron arbor covered with Rosa x 'New Dawn', which is covered in blooms most of the year.
The Knot and Texture Garden is the most formal area within the Walled Garden. The figure-eight knot design is created using low growing plants like dianthus and Ilex, a dwarf holly. This garden space also highlights combinations of different textured plants. You can find thorny leaved and spiky plants, as well as broad shaped leaves. Texture is an integral part of garden design, and it can be achieved by pairing plants with contrasting leaf form and size.
The Art Garden is so named because it focuses more on the art displayed there than on the plant material. Garden art doesn't need to be expensive or intricate, and we use this garden to demonstrate how funky art can create a vivid statement in the landscape. We use recycled materials and lots of imagination to turn everyday items into a fun expression of art for the garden.
The Fruit and Berry Garden is an excellent demonstration of how fruit can be more visually intriguing than a plant's flowers. This garden grows a diverse selection of fruits, not all of which are edible. By emphasizing the fruit of a plant, it adds another dimension to the aesthetics of a garden. Some of the fruit you may find in our garden are blueberries, figs, peppers, strawberries, and beautyberries.
In the center of the Walled Garden, you will find ten beds that make up our Annual Display of plants. These beds are completely replanted twice a year, in the spring and in autumn, to reflect plants that grow well in that season. The design of the beds is based on a theme, using both annuals and perennials in the implementation. These beds are often complemented with props and art that help bring life to the theme. The annual display is the jewel of the Walled Garden, with its kaleidoscope of colors and creative combinations.
The perennial borders along the Walled Garden are divided into three color schemes. Although the plants in these three borders change, the concept remains the same. This area serves to demonstrate how a garden can have a diversity of plants, while maintaining a set color scheme. It is also important to realize that color comes not just from flowers, but also from foliage, fruit, and stems. The Purple Border is a delightful combination of purple flowering plants, purple foliage, and plants blooming a complementary yellow. You can even find grape vines espaliered against the wall. The Pastel Border weaves together the soft colors of flowers with silver leaves, creating a charming and soothing mix of plants. The vivid reds, yellows and oranges of the garden find their place in the Hot Border. We combine both shrubs and perennials to create this eye-popping, intense garden space.
The shrub border of the Walled Garden is distinctly unique to Riverbanks. Few other places create gardens that focus on the larger foundation plants like trees and shrubs. This area is important in helping to conceptualize the idea that color doesn't need to come from flowering perennials alone, but more importantly, it can be built into the backbone of a garden through larger, permanent plantings. This border is divided into three seasons of interest. The Spring Shrub Border comes alive with the intertwined blooms of forsythia vines growing in a redbud tree. The vibrance of the hydrangeas and crape myrtles brighten the Summer Shrub Border, and the yellow blooms of mahonia and witch hazel keep the Fall Shrub Border glowing all season.