How to Make a Shakespeare Garden

Entrance to Shakespeare Garden

I have always been fascinated with the Shakespeare Garden in New York City, and I knew I had to plant one for myself.




Simply put, a Shakespeare Garden is one planted with herbs, flowers, and plants that Shakespeare mentions in his plays, and sonnets.  This book, Shakespeare’s Flora and Fauna (available here) makes it easy.  Page after page it will list a plant, show an excerpt that mentions the plant, and then name the work it comes from.




Since we live in a townhouse with a courtyard, my garden space is limited.  So, I only selected four quotes.  If you have the space and time, you could plant a huge Shakespeare Garden with numerous plants.  The book lists 35 plants.  The first thing I did was select the quotes that applied to flowers/plants/herbs that we have, and I typed them up.  Then I tore them roughly, and dipped them in strong tea to give the paper an aged look.




Meanwhile, I purchased little wooden plaques and wooden dowels at Michael’s.





I stained both sides and the dowels with a brown craft pain I had on hand.  I selected brown so it would blend in with the background, but you could use any color you like.  I then hot-glued the dowels to the back of the plaques.




After everything had dried the next step was to apply the quotes to the plaques with ModPodge.  I only used one coat and then added several layers of water-proof polyurethane.  Afterall, these babies will be out in all kinds of weather, and they need to be sealed well.




The courtyard was glistening this morning after a really hard rain last night.  The roses, which are about to bloom, looked lush.




Unfortunately, the pansies were looking rough around the edges after being beaten down by the rain.




The rosemary lived through the winter, which doesn’t always happen, and it is doing well.  The little quote just peaks out through the foliage.




The plaques looks very rough, and that is the look I was going for.  They are splotchy and wrinkled and perfect for me.  Before we down-sized, I had a much bigger Shakespeare Garden in our last house.  However, I am making do with what I have to work with here and love the little touch that the quotes add to my courtyard plantings.

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Take care.


Linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style French Country Cottage



  1. says

    Ah, my heart jumped when I saw the photo of the Shakespeare Garden in New York. I spent so many happy times in that garden when I lived in NYC. The garden is a haven of peace in a busy city. The garden has such a magical quality. It was one of the first places that I saw herbs planted in such an interesting way. Thanks for sharing!