These beds were designed in 1994 through the Landscape Architecture Program at Michigan State University based on historical research of the Capitol's original planting scheme.
The two long curving perennial beds in front of the Capitol's House and Senate wings were designed in the style of the Victorian period. They reflect the influence of English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, whose writings inspired many American gardeners. The Capitol's beds were carefully designed to be authentic to the era while providing masses of color throughout the blooming period. Each bed is a mirror of the other, beginning with cool colors (blues, purples and creams) at the outer ends and moving through progressively warmer colors (yellows, oranges and reds) to the Capitol's front entrance.
The beds flanking the entrance sidewalk and surrounding the statue of Austin Blair are also based on a popular historic planting scheme called "carpet bedding," in which annual flowers are planted in elaborate, often geometric, designs. This became very fashionable around grand public buildings and large private estates during the Victorian period.
Capitol Square's spectacular flower beds are beautiful and historically authentic. They differ from Victorian schemes in one respect, however. Rather than using exotic, expensive plant material, our beds are designed with public use in mind and are as hardy and maintenance-free as possible.