Gothic Gardening

When we think of the term Goth, it tends to conjure images of black clothing, white faces, and abundance of eyeliner; we think of death, the macabre, the supernatural. It does not tend to be associated with gardening. Bright coloured flowers and plants don’t really match the gothic style – but that does not mean they can’t be fun.

WHAT IS A GOTH GARDEN?

The goth garden is not a modern invention, in fact, gothic gardening began in the Victorian era; almost like a type of theme park, where deathly and morbid imagery was used to create to attract visitors – akin to an outdoor horror film. Goth gardens of the past did focus a lot on death, but nowadays a gothic garden can be magical and include fantastical elements, like fairies and other creatures.

DESIGN

It is common to see gardens follow a uniform pattern – lots of straight lines and rows, and symmetry. Whereas goth tends to favour more natural lines and twisting patterns. Refrain from pruning or deadheading your plants – the faded, withered look of flowers will accentuate the feeling of death.

GOTHIC PLANTS

You will be correct in thinking that a gothic garden will not heavily feature flowers like daffodils, daisies and pastel-coloured roses. Generally, the flora for a gothic garden should favour the dark side. Flowers like black roses and Iris’; black velvet petunias; bat plants and midnight hyacinths; or the ever-stunning black calla lilies. No need to limit yourself to flowers, there are plants and bushes that have a dark foliage too: castor oil plants, smoke bush, dark-leaved elder and the very appropriately named Ravenswing. Carnivorous plants tend to have a spooky aura like the popular Venus fly traps or pitcher plants. Plants that have unusual shapes or textures are also ideal: Ferns, cobra lilies, lady’s slipper orchids, skunk cabbage, Dracula orchids or Spanish moss – perfect for creating a draping effect.

But the plants you choose need not always follow the dark side or want to eat you – think of flowers that have a history of being used in all manners of witchcraft, spells or medicinal purposes attached to them like dandelions, blackberries, willow, camomile. Create a gothic herb garden full of sage and cinnamon basil (a herb with darker leaves), and If growing food is definitely your thing, you can introduce black tomatoes.

Not all flowers appreciate being out in the sun – night blooming flowers prefer to appear after dark, like evening primrose, moonflower or Queen of the Night.

ORNAMENTS

Gothic gardens are not all about the plants, it can provide the opportunity to have some fun with ornaments. When is the best time to go goth garden ornament shopping? Halloween of course. This is the perfect time to pick up any decorations for your garden; the shops are usually full of spooky objects like skulls, witches, ghosts etc.,

Choose stone ornaments, as they are perfect for growing moss, giving a decrepit feel reminiscent to that of a cemetery. Like stone, all natural materials are favoured for a gothic garden, including wood and marble.

FAIRY TALES

Don’t be fooled into thinking that gothic gardens are exclusively about death and nightmares, they can be charming and enchanting too, especially if you have children. Include elements of magic and mythical creatures like fairies, trolls, a dragon or two – have fun with folklore!

Check out the garden category on our website for any additions to your gothic garden.