Designing the English Cottage Garden
The English or cottage garden is a style that conjures up a flower-filled landscape bursting with color. Although this theme is most easily achieved in areas where rains are common and dappled shade offers comfort for typical cottage garden plants, you can create the same effects using plants that are ecologically friendly to your native environment.
One of the best ways to design an English cottage garden is to frame your garden with hardscapes and décor that will punch up the theme. Use a white picket fence or a white wooden arbor to outline your garden. Wrought iron can also blend in well with an English cottage garden. Paths and walls of used brick can help create the cozy look of comfortable age. And outfitting the garden with cottage styled benches or a romantic swing can make your garden all the more inviting,
The typical English cottage garden sports hollyhocks, sweetpeas, delphiniums, peonies, hollyhocks, roses and more. If these plants will do well in your environment, fill your garden with them. There are many other plants that will look great with this theme.
There are varieties of roses that do well in almost all garden areas. You can scramble them up trellises or over arches or even design in a rose garden devoted exclusively to these flowers.
If your area is not ideal for growing the classic English cottage garden plants, look for plants that grow well in your area but have similar habits of growth. For example, instead of delphiniums and foxgloves, try growing mullein or columbines. Look for varieties of columbine or other large families that might offer individual plants that grow in variable conditions. Use annuals and bulbs that are likely to do fine in many more areas. Stock will add perfume while pansies and snapdragons will fit in perfectly and annuals can be used in the growing season of most any climate. Bulbs like ranunculus, tulips, daffodils, freesia and more always look right at home in a cottage garden.
Create gardens that are not formal and symmetrical. Plant flowers and shrubs to create a full look. A little random wildness will look just fine in a cottage garden. Too much planning and control will destroy the relaxed look of a successful English cottage garden. Then add ornamentation like a bird bath or a set of garden chimes as a finishing touch.
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