Cottage Garden- Starting a Cottage Garden


A cottage garden is a popular garden style that is easy to obtain. You may be wanting to know what is a cottage garden? A cottage garden has a more natural look with no particular planting pattern. Originally, a cottage garden was the result of many types of random plantings of bits and pieces of different plants that may have been given by friends and of cuttings take from elsewhere. This type of garden will differ greatly from other garden styles, such as shade gardens, herbaceous garden, or rock garden styles.

A cottage garden very seldom had any overall design. If a plant proved, over time, to be too large, it was simply moved to another spot in the garden. This was done when space was at a premium, but where most of the space was used for growing food crops. The gaps were filled in with decorative flowering plants.

"Cottage Garden"

Cottage Garden in Bloom

Sometimes, we think of a cottage garden with brick or gravel paths edged with stones or bricks with plants tumbling all over. They might have a splash of bright or muted colors continuing over the ground, and plants of every shape and size mixed in randomly.

To obtain a cottage look, you simply mix in many perennials in no particular order. A cottage garden doesn’t have to be particularly large. You can give it its own boundary by surrounding it with a low fence or some type of divider. You could use rustic peeled bark trellis or an old-fashioned picket fence.

Cottage Garden Plants

Plants for a cottage garden could include hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) and delphiniums or climbers such as clematis, roses, and honeysuckle (lonicera) growing up and over the fence. The area can be in full sun or light shade, where you can also have foxgloves (Digitalis), poppies (Papover), monkshood (Aconitum), columbine (Aquilegia), and evening primrose (Onerthera). I like to include daises and coreopsis as well. The whites and yellows seem to bring your landscape to life and it brings out the other colors and tones in your yard and garden.

Recommended Cottage Garden Plants:

  • Alcea rosea ‘Charter’s Double’ Biennial
  • Lathyrus latifolius (everlasting pea) Perennial
  • Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea) Annual
  • Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ (bride’s blossom) Shrub
  • Rosmarinus efficinalis (rosemary) Shrub
  • Trapaeolum Gleam Series (nasturtium) Annual

*Tip- any gaps can be filled in summer by sowing in seeds of annuals such as nasturtiums, and bachelor buttons, or larkspur directly into the spaces, and thinning them out as necessary.

A cottage garden is the perfect setting for a nice cozy chair or garden bench set out in an open alcove, or even a quaint gazebo. Paint your bench or chair a bright color that will blend in with the colors you have blooming for a stunning effect or maybe even a white color if you have many bright colors around where you are placing it. It will definitely be an eye-catcher in your landscape.

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