A cottage garden is a gardening design that uses an eclectic mixed of old-fashioned flowers and sometimes edible plants to create an informal, traditional look. Traditionally, flowers were planted with veggies and fruits to help pollinate them. But despite its name, you don’t need a cottage to create this informal and charming style of garden.
It’s all about mixing and matching assorted plants, including bulbs, shrubs and perennials in an casual and manner. The best part is that flowers don’t need to be planted in neat little rows. Often tall plants are planted in the back of a border, with shorter plants in the foreground. Choose a mix of plants in assorted sizes and shapes to create visual interest. Ornamental trees and shrubs can be planted with annuals and perennials. Let climbers grow freely up the walls and fences.
Although just about anything goes for a cottage garden, here are some classic flowers to get you started:
No garden is complete without roses. Roses are the classic cottage garden flower, adding a a touch of romance, charm and beauty to the landscape. Garden roses (antique roses) would be the best choices, as they are often the hardiest and most fragrant. Roses come in a variety of colours, shapes and types to suit your needs. And needless to say, roses make wonderful cut flowers!
The foxglove is a classic cottage garden flower that is known to attract bees to the garden. The clusters of bell-shaped flowers are quite stunning, and they make great cut flowers. Foxgloves are considered biennials (flowering only in the 2nd year), but they will self seed and appear the next year. Just be careful not to let children ingest them, as they are poisonous.
Lavender is an easy-to-grow flowering herb that is commonly grown for their fragrant flowers and foliage. The scent is simply intoxicating! For the best visual impact, plant them in masses as borders in the garden bed or to line a path. It is a also a favourite with bees! And the best part is that, they are very versatile beyond the garden; they can be used as herb in the kitchen, as cut flower and more!
Peonies are beloved plants known for their beautiful and fragrant flower heads. And just like roses, peonies are very romantic and make lovely cut flowers! Although the flowering period is short, the dark green foliage is quite attractive even after the flowers have faded. Peonies are low maintenance; they are virtually pest-free and quite drought tolerant. Perfect for a cottage garden!
Hollyhocks, which produce tall, sturdy stems and showy, bell-shaped flowers in rich colours, add beauty and height to the garden. They are among the tallest of perennials, growing to be 6-8 feet tall, which makes them best suited for walls and fences. Plant in full sun. Hollyhocks will also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.
The snapdragon is another old-fashioned flower that produces beautiful, fragrant flowers in a range of vibrant colours along its tall stalk. They do best in cooler conditions. Flowers will bloom from late spring to the first frost. Plants are available in a range of sizes: tall varieties for borders and dwarfs for bedding.
Dianthus or pinks are attractive, hardy perennial flowers with fringed petals that come in shades of red, pink and white. They are a cottage garden favourite valued for their spicy, clove-like scent. They are ideal for edging and borders. Gardeners love them because pinks are easy to grow; they can tolerate poor soils and are drought tolerant! They will also attract butterflies and moths to the garden. In addition, they make wonderful cut flowers.
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