Cottage Gardens are defined by their causal, sprawling layout and a riot of color. They are characterized by a refined rustic feel and a look of bountiful abundance and color. Traditionally, cottage gardens contained a combination of flowers and edibles such as herbs, berries and vegetables.
Cottage garden tips:
Start small: gardens beds require lots of upkeep chores such as weeding, mulching, staking tall perennials for support, and watering to keep them looking their best. We recommend starting off small and getting a feel for the work involved before adding more beds.
Groupings: Planting in clumps of 3 to 5 plants. Clumps of flowers create a larger visual impact and using odd numbers helps to keep the look casual.
Continuity: Using 3 or 4 dominant colors and reusing the same varieties of plants in different gardens helps to keep the look unified. Cottage gardens are supposed to be a casual riot of color but some order to the chaos has to be kept to keep it from looking overgrown and haphazard.
Structures: Pergolas, fences, gates and arches are perfect for cottage gardens because they can be used to add height, create delineations between spaces, and provide support for climbing roses or clematis vines. In addition to all of their uses, these structures also can add a rustic look to the garden.
Edibles: Cottage gardens traditionally included edibles including herbs veggies and berries. We especially recommend including aromatic and ornamental herbs and veggies such as thyme, tri color sage, swiss chard and kale.
Variety of height and textures: Generally keeping taller plants towards the back and shorter plants closer to the front allows for all of the plants to be seen. However, we recommend not making strict delineations because that can take away from the informal vibe of a cottage garden. A variety of heights and textures creates the look of abundance, especially if plants with slightly trailing habits are planted near the edge of the garden that slightly overhang the pathway or boundary to make it look as if it is spilling over.
Sneak in more color with annuals: We recommend planting a core arrangement of perennials and shrubs and adding colorful annuals to fill in the gaps. The base established perennials allow for less year to year planting/maintenance than an annual garden while the annuals provide the opportunity for creativity each year. Annuals such as sunflower, snapdragons, cosmos, zinnias, nasturtium, quick splashes of color for continuous blooms all season long.
Below is a list of plants we recommend for cottage gardens. With these tips in mind we hope you can create the cottage garden of your dreams. If you have any questions our staff are happy to help you out!
Cottage Garden Plants: