Grandmother's Flower Garden

Example of a quilt with the Grandmother's flower garden pattern. Example of a quilt with the Grandmother's flower garden pattern.

Grandmother’s flower garden is a quilt pattern that has been popular in the USA from the early nineteenth century and especially during the 1920's and 1930's. It is based on blocks of many (sometimes a thousand or more) small hexagons, often in bright pastel, repeating colours. The patchwork quilts are hence also known as hexagon quilts, or one-patch quilts, as only one shape is used throughout the design.

One of the earliest references to this design in the USA appeared as a pattern for a hexagon quilt that was published in 1835, in the widely circulated monthly magazine Godey's Magazine. The pattern was also referred to in the nineteenth century as honeycomb, mosaic or six-sided patchwork. The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts (USA), has a hexagon quilt in its collection dated to circa 1830 (PEM 1238345). By the end of the twentieth century, this type of design had also become known as Grandma’s Flower Garden, Granny’s Flower Garden or French Bouquet.

The roots of the pattern lie in eighteenth century England, where a hexagon template, used in the paper piecing technique, was popular. The International Quilt Study Center and Museum of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA) has a hexagon quilt in its collection made in 1796 by Anna Ruggles in Britain (IQSC object number 2008.040.0140). It is believed that British immigrants brought the pattern to the American colonies. The pattern was very popular in Britain in the 1830's, where the quilts were made from materials ranging from chintz to wool to silk.

Source: BRACKMAN, Barbara (1989). Clues in the Calico: A Guide to Identifying and Dating Antique Quilts, New York: EPM Publications.

Digital sources:

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 30 June 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:13