Home Garden

Flowers in a Renaissance Garden

Flower gardens were an especially useful part of a Renaissance home. Flowers were both aesthetic and functional, and were used as food, dye and sometimes for medicinal purposes. The gardens' designs were influenced by Greek and Roman styles and often included some kind of enclosure, such as a fence. Depending on the size, these gardens would often include flowering shrubs, trees, a trellis with climbing vines and colorful flowers. A number of flowers were almost universal in the era, and could be found in just about every garden.
  1. Marigolds

    • Renaissance gardens frequently grew marigolds (Tagetes) either in the ground or as potted plants. The leaves and petals were commonly used as a cooking herb and to ease the pain of bee or wasp stings. They are fairly easy to grow and propagate, and will do well in just about every type of soil. These flowers should be planted in an area with full sun and moderately fertile soil. Blooms are orange or yellow in color and will open in spring, summer or fall, depending on the planting zone. There are more than 50 species of marigolds, which means lots of variety in color, texture and overall look. Each type produces a pleasing smell and has a long vase life.


    • The most common Renaissance varieties of daisy were the ox eye and gerbera, though they weren't the only options for the garden. Daisies were often used as a source of color in the garden, but were also used as flavoring soups, teas and salads, and as an ulcer remedy when added to wine. Daisies encompass a large number of species, most of which come in several vibrant colors and a number of sizes. These flowers should be planted in an area with partial or full sunshine, and require a soil that drains well to prevent standing water.


    • Violets were a common site in Renaissance gardens because of their association with purity, humility and the Virgin Mary. They were a widely used flower; its edible petals were used to garnish food, as perfume and in scented oils. Violets are notable for their relatively easy growth, aesthetic appeal and pleasing fragrance. Common violets are suitable both for ground cover and as planted flowers, but may become invasive if left untended. They favor areas with filtered light, but will do well in full sun if the climate is mild and plenty of water is available.


    • Roses were widely cultivated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and were common in gardens of the period. Only a few varieties of the era resembled modern cultivars, and a few were preferred, including the tea, damask and brier rose. Petals were often used in perfumes, and as an anti-depressant while the rose hips were used to brew a scurvy-preventing tea. These are fairly hardy flowers, but are cold-intolerant, which may limit their range for growing. They require a nutrient-rich soil that drains well to prevent health problems. Roses require regular watering, the exact amount of which will vary depending on the growing zone.