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 Riverbanks’ collection of plant species.
The Walled Garden is not a static garden. As plants grow too large and are removed, others take their place. A main canal divides this garden 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 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.
Explore the Walled Garden
In the center of the Walled Garden, you will find six 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. 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 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 this garden.
Fruit and Berry 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 this garden are blueberries, peppers, beautyberries, and the amazing Thomasville Citrangequat, a cold-hardy citrus.
Knot and Texture Garden
The Knot and Texture Garden is the most formal area within the Walled Garden. A knot garden is a formal garden space that is created using an intricate geometric pattern and dwarf hedges of evergreen plants. 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 Midnight Garden is a delightful area with plants that glow in the moonlight. Many of the specimens have either white flowers or variegated foliage, making it an enchanting garden to visit in the evenings.
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, purple fruit and plants that bloom a complementary yellow. 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 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, spring, summer and autumn. The shrubs and perennials found in these borders provide color during their particular season through a combination of flowers, foliage, fruit or stems.
The Winter Garden is a peaceful garden between the pastel and hot borders. This small space is full of plants that take center stage during the coldest months of the year. The graceful branching of the Parrotia persica, the Persian Ironwood deciduous trees, is more evident when the leaves are gone. Other plants feature winter blooms, strong fragrance, colorful stems and wonderful structure all to be enjoyed during winter.