If you have ever visited one of our display gardens you will know we get a lot of inspiration from the ‘cottage garden’ theme. Here we will provide you starting point for creating your own cottage garden.
“Cottage-style gardens need voluptuous planting and haphazard self-seeding to get the look. Here are five key plants to help you achieve it” -RHS
There are no real rules about what plants must be used to create a cottage garden, but here are some good starting points:
Foxgloves (Digitalis) - Carry a tall spire of colour, can grow up to 2 meters tall. require well drained soil in sun or partial shade.
Lupins - Bright coloured spires, grows about 75cm. Our favourite varieties are the West Country Lupin, which offer bright colour combinations such as Manhattan Lights a Mauve and Yellow.
Delphiniums - Tall spikes of bright colours, usually blue, purples and white. Require full sun and a position that is protected from strong winds. We love Delphinium Delphix, a short, electric blue variety.
Astilbe - Offers a beautiful fluffy flower, comes in whites through to reds. Ideal for the less well drained soil, and doesn't mind the shade.
Lavender - Easy growing, aromatic shrub. Grows well next to pathways and edges. Likes a sunny position and well drained soil.
Scaboius - Long stemmed flower with 4 cm blooms usually in pinks and purples. Enjoys the sunshine. Comes in annual and perennial varieties.
Cosmos - This bushy annual can grow up to 2.5 meters tall. It carrys lots of daisy like flowers and thin divided folliage. This should self seed its self for the following year.
Echinacea - Tall daisy flowers that come in a wide range of colours from whites, to pinks, to dark reds and yellows.
Salvia - Comes in many varieties and colours. Carrys a beutiful scent. Most varieties prefer a sunny position in the garden and are perennial.
You'll notice with our displays we tend to focus on either hot colours or cold colours when we plant our cottage gardens. We find it's more effective to plant all hot colours or all colours. This does not mean your entire garden needs to be hot or cold, you can have hot colour sections and cool colour sections.
The most important aspect of planting your cottage garden is making sure your plant is in the right position for its needs, so for example making sure Foxgloves are in a suitably shaded spot. When we start our gardens we work from the back to the front. At the back we have our tallest plants to create a back bone. This will usually be a variety of foxgloves, delphiniums and Lupins. Once you've go your backbone structure in place it's then much easier to let your creativity run free. Cottage gardens are not suppose to be uniform but rather full of colour and dept. Don't worry when planting about it not being symmetrical.