Your yard is one of the first thing visitors will see, so it should reflect who you are. One of the best ways to show off your individuality is to plant a theme landscape or garden. Theme landscapes can be as simple or complex as you want. It can be limited to a corner or flowerbed, or envelop your entire yard. If you are looking for a theme that is unique and expressive of your personality, perhaps you should consider one of these themes:
Over a hundred different herbs, trees, and plants mentioned in the Bible, which means there are quite a few choices for a biblical-themed landscape. The one drawback to this theme is that most of the plants are Mediterranean. However, some of them are capable of doing well in temperate climates. Just a few of the many plants mentioned by name in the Bible are aloe, hyacinth, cedar trees, cypress trees, lilies, mint, myrtle, cinnamon, rose, palm trees, pomegranates, and willow trees. Of course, some items mentioned in the Bible are extracts from the plants. Both Frankincense and Myrrh are derived from gummy resin from other plants. Frankincense comes from a tree called Boswellia Thurifera; while Myrrh comes from a shrub, Commiphora.
You can expand your options by adding plants that have a biblical nature to them, even if they are not specifically mentioned in the Bible. A couple of examples include the Burning Bush (Euonymus alata 'Compactus'), which gets its name from its red foliage; the star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum arabicum and O. umbellatum); and the early star-of-Bethlehem or (Gagea bohemica), which is also known as the Radnor lily. There is also the passionflower (Passiflora incarnate), which received its name from Spanish-Christian missionaries who felt that the flowers unique physical structures were symbols of Christ's Crucifixion.
The nice thing about this type of garden is you can entertain your guests with some of the myths surrounding the plants. For example, legend has it that wormwood, also known as mugwort, sprang up behind the serpent when he left the Garden of Eden and prevented it from returning. For that reason, it is believed that snakes will not enter a garden where wormwood grows.
You do not have to be a doctor to grow your own medicine--or plant a medicinal themed landscape. Any plant that has a Latin name that ends with “officinalis” indicates that it was once used by apothecaries. A few examples are hyssop, (Hyssopus officinalis), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), rosemary, (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage (Salvia officinalis), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), and verbena (Verbena officinalis). However, there are more options than just those. Most herbs have some medicinal properties, such as peppermint, chamomile, and thyme.
Of course, you should not overlook your trees. Camphor, clove, eucalyptus, ginkgo, hawthorn, and benzoin trees all are believed to have medicinal properties. No matter which plants you use, be careful before using any of them. They can cause allergic reactions and negative interactions with other medications before you are taking. Consult your physician before ingesting any of them.
Who cannot think of a rose without thinking the classic line from Romeo and Juliet? However, a Shakespearean garden is not limited to roses. Shakespeare mentions more than 175 plants in his writings, everything from trees to flowers. A prime example of Shakespeare's use of plants is in Opheila's speech in Hamlet. Ophelia says:
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts. … There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you, and here's some for me. We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays. O, you must wear your rue with a difference! There's a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they wither'd all when my father died.
Shakespeare does not limit himself to flowers; he mentions other plants as well. Starting with trees, you have aspen, birch, elder, weeping willow, and oak. Several fruit trees are also mentioned such as apple, apricot, cherry, peach, pear, pomegranate, and plum. A variety of shrubs are mentioned including the boxwood, honeysuckle, dogwood (although he refers to it as a dogberry), and yews. Of course, the biggest list is his use of flowers. Besides what was mentioned earlier, just a few that Shakespeare mentions are calendula, hyssop, flax, larkspur, pansy, marigolds, and buttercups.
If that is not enough of a choice for you, you could add plants that have been named after Shakespearean characters. The leopard plant “Othello” (Ligularia dentate) is a wonderful yellow-orange flower similar to the daisy. There is also the viola “King Henry” (Viola cornuta), Juliet tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), and the Begonia 'Cleopatra'.
Twilight or Moon Theme
If you are a night owl, or not around much during the day, then plant a garden with a twilight or moon theme is perfect option. There are several ways to make this garden enjoyable. It is best to stay away from bright colors--unless you plan to use floodlights all around your garden--because they become dull and muddy in dim light. Planting silvery or white flowers will help them reflect the moonlight. Some good choices are candytuft, white Japanese anemones, snowdrops, lily-of-the-valley, ox-eye daisy, Shasta daisy, white bleeding heart, lilies, and snow-on-the-mountain. If you are looking for white or silver-foliaged plants consider the dusty miller, artemisia, silver thyme, lambs ear, and lamium. Yellow and pink plants are also good choices as well as plants with variegated colors, because they are more visible in the evening.
When looking for flowers, you will want to plant ones that open or are more fragrant at night. It should be no surprise that two of the most popular varieties are “moon” flowers. The moon vine (Ipomoea alba) is a variety of morning glory that produces white trumpet-shaped flowers that open at sunset and are very fragrant. The moon bush (Datura meteloides), or Angels' trumpet, also has large white trumpet-shaped flowers that open at night. Both of these plants bloom continuously throughout the summer. There are also several varieties of night-blooming day lilies, not to mention other nocturnal plants such as evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), evening scented stock (Matthiola longipetala), and flowering tobacco (Nicotiana x sanderae).
Although night-blooming jasmine is not very visible at night, they produce a scent that is out of this world. Two of the best choices for a strong night scent are the star jasmine (Jasminum nitidum) and the pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum). Four o'clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) are more showy with trumpet-shaped flowers and produce an aroma that is similar to jasmine.