To develop a cottage garden, simple focal points are important.
They were often surrounded by boxwood hedges and planted with masses of annuals from greenhouses, fragrant roses and exotic plants. This laid-back garden style is primarily for enjoyment, with an emphasis on flowers, but often also herbs and vegetables that are hidden here and there.
Table of Content
What is a cottage garden?
Cottage gardens are full of life and flowers, in many colours, shapes and structures that attract pollinators of all kinds.
Plants are used here and there and not arranged in any particular order until the space available for cultivation is covered.
An informal style that essentially looks natural.
Strong and vibrant colours are a must, and old-fashioned flowers with full petals are a typical style that is common in these gardens.
While old-fashioned cottage gardens are rich in annuals and perennials, a modern design enhances the stability and substance of a shrub.
Combine the things you love with various colours, but choose one or two colours and plants that you can repeat throughout the landscape.
The new cottage garden and how to make one, even in a small space
I still remember my first encounter with a cottage garden. After a four-hour car journey from Reading to Mousehole, Cornwall, my three brothers and I, all under ten and desperate to escape the cramped back seat, tumbled onto the gravel leading up to Saltponds Cottage.
Nostalgia is what brings many people to gardening; it’s always the childhood memory of ‘grandma’s roses’ or a visit to a national garden that brings on the urge to start.
Arches and columns give the garden a fixed structure and vertical interest and guide visitors through the garden.
The cottage garden should be explored, and you should ask yourself what is around the next corner. Informal paths, such as gravel or paving, create a cottage garden look.
Many modern gardeners use heirlooms or “old-fashioned” plants and varieties. However, they may not be authentic or traditional country garden plants.
The flowers and vegetables were separated.
Plants peeping through the fence provide splendid splashes of colour in front of a bright white background and prevent a fence from looking too bland.
Unlike formal gardens, which are oriented towards structure and perfect order, the cottage garden style is freer and more relaxed.
Fragrant flowering plants grow in profusion.
During the 16th century, the increasing trade brought new flowers to England. The plants began to be cultivated for their beauty.
When the more romantic influence emerged, it was believed that plants would affect us emotionally. This movement gave rise to the cottage garden.
Plant perennials close to the edges of paths or patios creating an overflowing look. Let plants overlap or look from behind to create surprises.
It should be informal, relaxing and inviting.
You need little gardening or design experience, just a vision of what plants you want and where to plant them.
Using existing walls, fences and trees and the construction in pergolas, trellises, statues and arbours, further climbing plants can be grown for additional interest.
Many garden owners enjoy herbaceous borders and appreciate the more usual plants from another time. The old flowers really are the true glory of an irresistible cottage garden.
Evergreen shrubs can give stability to the ever-changing palette of plants in the home garden. Deciduous plants can add even more colour and seasonality.
There are modern flowers that can blend in.
The repetition of materials, the emphasis on structure and the creation of contrasts through form, texture and colour are tools for successful design, regardless of your personal style.
From overflowing borders full of plants to pretty accessories and sitting areas that immediately add charm. There are many possibilities to create a cottage-style atmosphere in your own garden.
While positioning is essential for your garden, the types of plants you pick come a very close second. Consider what kind of colouring you want to see when your plants bloom.
Think low maintenance with a cottage garden.
With their abundance of roses growing over fences and their vine arbours, whose flowers rise towards the sun, cottage gardens are often imitated today.
White picket fences are often found in cottage gardens. They help by keeping everything in order and prevent the landscape from looking too chaotic.
They are more colourful and brighter.
With time, the cottage garden’s charm has become established, and many landscapers use a country garden style in their modern setting.
The paths in these gardens are deliberately small and winding to not take up any space and create the feeling that the garden is more extensive than it appears.
Nowadays, the best cottage gardens are carefully designed to give an appealing arrangement of ornamental plants, herbs, vegetables, garden ornaments and accessories.
— Gardener's Path (@Gardeners_Path_) January 31, 2021
The original cottage gardens were more useful than their modern descendants, focusing on vegetables and herbs and some fruit trees, perhaps a hive, and even livestock.
Flowers common in the early cottage gardens included traditional florists “flowers such as primroses and violets and domestic flowers such as marigolds and various herbs.
Many of the more successful cottage gardens begin with a formal design and soften the scheme with cottage plants’ lavishness.
Spaces gradually became more decorative.
Different textures and colours lend depth to the garden. At first, it may seem chaotic, but the viewer quickly recognises a flow and balance in these gardens.
Gardeners are adjusting this easy-going style to develop welcoming front gardens with attractive street-side verges.
It’s now a modern way to grow a garden.
Nowadays, the term “cottage garden” describes several informal garden styles. This is achieved using a design and plants that are very different from their traditional origins in the English cottage garden.
The modern style of beds that many of us have today is directly derived from the English cottage garden style.
English-style gardens use trees and plants, water features such as ponds and some topiary.
Consider the plants’ texture and shape.
The cottage garden is a distinctive garden-style that uses an informal design, traditional materials, dense planting and a mix of decorative and edible plants.
This style is particularly suitable for people who are always on the lookout for the rare and unusual and would lead to the creation of a non-traditional cottage garden.
What does make the cottage garden?
Cottage gardens include various plants, pleasing all the senses and developing a natural, informal environment. There are different textural plants obtainable that are satisfying and pleasing to see and touch. An assortment of herbs offers inviting aromas and repeatedly provide excellent ground cover.
Although all our gardens are slightly different because of our location, which determines what we can grow in the cottage style or spirit.
There is a surprise every few feet in this well-kept garden style, which makes it one of the most distinctive garden styles we can choose from.
Fences were lower than are typical today.
When gardens have this form, the cottage style is presented in fullness and simplicity of the planting within the hedges or beds.
The key to the cottage-style garden is in creating an informal yet inviting landscape through the fullness of flowerbeds using varying colours and textures.
Of all garden styles, the cottage garden should please and appeal to most tastes.