One of my favorites is the Japanese rock garden. It is so serene, with sand or pea gravel representing water, carefully placed rocks to represent mountains, people or boats, and meticulously maintained trees and shrubs to represent whatever the gardener desires.
Quite different, yet every bit as beautiful, is the English cottage garden, an informal style of gardening that incorporates both the ornamental and the edible. Tall, flowering plants anchor the garden, which often includes a fruit tree or two. Beehives were not uncommon in 19th-century cottage gardens.
The colonial dooryard garden is an example of an apothecary garden. There is a renewed interest in this type of garden, in which plants are grown for their supposed medicinal properties. Many commonly grown herbs fall into this category.
Mexican courtyard gardens are all about bringing people together. In these gardens, there are wooden or stone benches for seating, and a water feature and tile work are often incorporated. It is common to see Aztec influences and other forms of traditional stone art. The plant choices can range from lush tropical plants to desert dwellers that like our dry, hot climate.
A scent garden can be intoxicatingly beautiful. Scent gardeners choose plants that are highly fragrant when blooming and try to ensure something is blooming year-round. Night-blooming jasmine and plants with leaves that release their aromas when brushed against provide for a constant day-and-night experience. Scent gardens are usually designed to accommodate the disabled and the sight-impaired, as this type of garden can be enjoyed by everyone.
For every theme garden I have touched on, there are at least 10 more. A little research and careful planning is all that stands between a gardener and his or her ideal garden.
• UC Certified Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 953-6112. Questions for Heather can be submitted to email@example.com.