Picking and Planting Annuals in Your Cottage Garden
Continuing this series on the Cottage Garden, and this post on annuals follows Perennials for the Cottage Garden, and Just What is a Cottage Garden? Annuals provide beauty, texture and amazing color to the cottage garden layout, and there are sooooo many to choose from. Here are some of our favorites, with a list to follow:
There are very few flowers that provide such great vertical interest and color as the Foxglove. With its colorful, spotted spikes, and glorious bell shaped flowers, it will provide a great backdrop to any cottage garden planting scheme..
A great planting companion with the Foxglove, the Snapdragon is also a vertical interest plant, and provides a great layered effect when planted around the foxglove or delphinium. In such a large array of colors, you cant help but find one or many you love.
These plants are cottage garden mainstays, towering at the back of the border in your choice of shades of blue, pink or white. You will need to stake them before they get too tall, and protect them from slugs and snails early in the season. They will add to your cut flower bouquets and provide great beauty.
These fast blooming, heat loving plants will give your cottage design color, foliage and consistent blooms throughout the summer months. These heat lovers will continue to provide flowers as long as you dead head, and come in amazing colors palettes and sizes to bring a smile to any gardeners face.
Here is a big list of annuals and perennials you can add to your cottage garden for enjoyment:
When we built our new enclosed garden, I started doing some research on the Cottage Garden Design style, and what that really meant. There’s the traditional English Cottage Garden, the Americanized Cottage Garden, the hybrid cottage garden. What are the true fundamentals of the cottage garden design style? Here is a quick definition, the best I found:
The cottage garden is a distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. The earliest cottage gardens were more practical than today’s, with emphasis on vegetables and herbs, fruit trees, perhaps a beehive, and even livestock. (Wikipedia)
The original cottage gardens were built by British laborers who had little time for maintenance, but needed a space to help feed the family, grow herbs for medicine, and flowers to bring birds and helping insects nearby.
As time went on, the British nobility began to idealize the cottage life, and the concept of the cottage garden was expanded, and the beauty of flowers became a focus in cottage garden design.
So, in researching, here are some key elements and design principles for making a cottage garden.
Pinks, Purples and Whites – for most cottage gardens, its all about the color palette, and creating a sense of romance and whimsy.
Scents are Key – tied to the visual romance, is one of glorious scents: lavenders, peonies, roses and the like.
Creating enclosed spaces – the typical cottage garden is enclosed by a picket fence, with climbers weaving through the pickets.
Creating other spaces – within the garden, there should be small themes here and there, concentrations of colors, heights and shapes.
Use informal crowding – the typical cottage garden is tight and compact, almost overflowing with flowers and foliage.
A mix of pathways – the garden should almost feel as you can wander through its curving pathways for hours. Informal edges should allow creeping plants to encroach on the stroll.
Mixing colors – sticking with a single palette is taboo, and there should be a sense of disorganized chaos in both color and texture of plant.
Intriguing elements – a mix of statues, design, birdhouses, fountains, benches, etc. should be placed throughout.
There are no rules – the best part is just go for it, and put your ideas into your design. If you don’t like it, change it 🙂
More to come, as this is one of our favorite topics.
So, I’ve wanted to build a cottage/English garden for some time now and started a larger project than I anticipated. In doing research I wanted to understand what attributes make up this type of garden, and what features I wanted to include. There are really two main kinds of English Garden: the rolling estate/park and the cottage garden. The rolling estate is lush with broad expanses of green, and has a park feel broken up by “rooms” or areas of diverse planting. The cottage is your typical loose, flowing and colorful garden.
Key Attributes of an English Garden
So here is a collection of English/cottage garden traits I compiled:
Abundance – in the garden there is always a feel of slight overgrowth and abundance. Bare spots are not allowed, paths should be slightly crowded with blooms. There needs to be a “full” feeling.
Natural – plants should always look like they are in their natural habitat.
Weaving – using a variety of plants, vines and containers there should be a woven feel throughout the garden.
Variety – there should be a variety of bloom types,, sizes and colors to create a visual texture.
Informality – There is always a main theme of informality on the verge of organized chaos.
Layers – using height and plant types, there should be a layering of foliage and blooms.