The knot garden

Knot gardens were developed towards the end of the Tudor period and consist of formal patterns of aromatic herbs or shrubs laid out within a rectangular frame. The more intricate or ‘beknotted’ the better.

The creator of knots

The design of our knot garden was adapted from one of four laid out by the Rev Walter Stonehouse between 1631 and 1640 at his rectory in Darfield, South Yorkshire.  

Rev Stonehouses garden is displayed in a manuscript in the library at Magdalen College, Oxford and the original garden was still surviving as late as 1922.

As Stonehouse was a keen plantsman, the original would probably have been in-filled with herbs or flowers.

A bird's eye view

The best view of our knot garden is seen from the attic windows in the house. A great deal of care is taken each year when it’s trimmed – it’s a long job that can take over three weeks!

The inspiration for knot gardens

Knot gardens are based on Renaissance designs used in many forms of indoor decoration such as fabrics, carpets, cushions and wall coverings.

Some gardens were intricate patterns involving low hedges intricately knotted together on a gravel base. These were small in scale and complete in themselves and were known as ‘closed knots’.

Others were simpler but more extensive and always enclosed by a perimeter hedge; sometimes resembling parterres. These ‘open’ knots, like the one here at Moseley, were usually intended as a place to grow plants as well as an exercise in geometry.

Visitors exploring the garden at Moseley Old Hall
Moseley Old Hall Knot Garden Visitors

©National Trust Images/James Dobson

Visitors exploring the garden at Moseley Old Hall