Tuesday, August 19, 2008

English Cottage Garden

This Spring we started what I like to call my "English Cottage Garden" in a small corner of the front yard using plants I started from seed. Ian doesn't know it yet, but I have some pretty grand plans for the rest of the front yard. I'm planning to tell him about it on a "need to know" basis. For example, when I "need" him to dig, I will let him "know." LOL!

English Cottage Gardens are all about density, color and variation, all within an informal setting.

english cottage garden

I used drought-tolerant plants since I don't want to tend too much to this bed. If you are looking for a drought tolerant option that "fills in" quickly, evening primrose is your lady. In the gardening world, this plant is referred to as "invasive." However, in the English Cottage Garden planning world, this plant is referred to as a "quick filler," providing a nice dense foundation for your more important feature plants. I love how it closes the gaps between the salvia and verbana to give the garden an informal and "full" appearance.

evening primrose spreading through garden

For BIG color, coreopsis and salvia are great choices. The deep purple and yellow complement each other, and their contrasting habits help add variation to break up the shapes and sizes of the garden. Again, these plants are quite drought tolerant, and keep on blooming throughout the heat of the Summer, when other lazy perennials give up on you. A splash of white shasta daisies here and there helps keep the eye moving throughout the entire bed.

salvia and coreopsis putting on a show

Verbana makes a beautiful spiller, flowing out (possibly a bit too far according to Ian) onto the sidewalk to soften up the hard edges of the bed.


Shasta daisies are very drought tolerant once they reach maturity. However, they can cause some grief when they are young, since they do require a regular drink of water. The hole these daisies have left in my garden have certainly caused me a lot of grief.

shasta daisies

I keep reminding myself to have patience and stay on top of them, and they will become maintenance free. These daisies were planted two years ago, and I never water them. They bloomed beautifully this year. They are finishing up their grand June show in this photo.

shasta daisies

My hanging baskets are finally performing well also. These baskets were put together in May, but are just now really "taking off." I think it was worth the wait.

purple and yellow hanging basket

The soft scalloped edges of the petunias and purples and yellows help complement the colors and shapes in the garden bed below.

purple hanging basket

I even have a nice view from the couch to enjoy on days when it's too hot to sit outside.

view from the front window

So, that's my English Cottage Garden! If anyone needs some evening primrose, stop by and I'll dig some up for you. It's seriously getting out of control!

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At 3:38 PM , Blogger Tami said...

It is both beautiful and stunning! People should hire you to plan gardens.

At 8:19 PM , Blogger Goodboy Norman Featherstone said...

That's very sweet of you. I feel that I still have a lot to learn though!


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