What Kind of Plants Are in an English Garden?

English gardens are known for their sense of order, frequently incorporating meticulously trimmed hedges and borders that lead to hidden outdoor rooms containing flowerbeds and herb gardens. English gardens are meant to be walked through and enjoyed. There are many plants that can be incorporated into a garden to give it a more traditional English style.

English Laurel

English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) has a long tradition as an ornamental shrub, its use dating back more than 400 years in Europe. English laurel is a dense, evergreen shrub commonly used to create orderly hedges for walkways. The plant boasts deep green, waxy leaves accented by tiny white protruding flowers. English laurel grows well in both sun, partial shade and even full shade, making it quite versatile. Soil should be moist and well drained, the plant is not drought tolerant.

Lenten Rose

Native to Eurasia, the Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) is an evergreen perennial famous for its early blooms, which often push through snow at the end of winter. The plant's flowers are rose like and a crisp, white color, while the foliage is broad and deep green. Lenten roses are commonly used in English gardens in shady areas, or near ponds. The plant does the best in well-drained, rich soils in filtered or heavy shade.

English Ivy

Long lived and a whimsical, English ivy (Hedera helix) is frequently used as a ground cover or as a topiary centerpiece in an English garden. Though widely thought of as a vine because of the plant's climbing tendencies, English ivy is a shrub and can be cultivated as such. The plant has three to five pronged, deep green lobes that look lovely when contrasted with brick or a garden fountain or statue. The plant will grow in partial sun to shade in moist, well-drained soils that are either acidic or alkaline.

Keywords: English garden, garden plants, plant kinds

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.