Gardening is a most expressive hobby! Whether you realize it or not, gardening is a lot like painting with flowers. Choose a design to suit your personality, pick the colours that make you happy and plant flowers that suit your landscape: voila! When you put it all together, something remarkable is created.
One type of flower garden design that allows for creativity to overflow is the cottage garden. Often referred to as “cheerfully disorganized,” this type of garden looks casual but takes some thought and planning to make sure the plants are getting the proper sun and the soil conditions in order to make it look full and lush but not overgrown. Keys to success with this type of garden include planting several plants of one variety; using varying heights of perennials (including ground covers, shrubs and vines in the garden) and interspersing annuals and biennials throughout.
This type of garden has been around since the Middle Ages. It’s often found along a path to the kitchen door or off to the side of the house or in front of a wooden fence. They often contain herbs, vegetables and shrubs alongside the flowers to maximize space. The types of flowers in a cottage garden are usually “old fashioned” or the ones you remember in your grandmother’s garden – Irises, peonies, bee balm, daisies, hollyhocks, foxglove, day lilies , dianthus, cranesbill geraniums and roses. Some herbs that are perfect for this type of garden are lavender and thyme. All these plants can be found at The Bayside this season! Add a bird bath, a bench, a birdhouse, a meandering path, or an arbour with a beautiful clematis to give the garden a personal touch and a feel like you are sitting in “The Shire” from Lord of the Rings!
Here’s a link with some Cottage Garden visual cues and tips: http://www.gardendesign.com/cottage/ideas.html
Because the nature of a cottage garden is to have many plants in one area, the more vigorous or invasive plants can take over the garden without you really noticing until it’s too late. Invasive plants such as gooseneck loosestrife, goutweed or creeping jenny may be a stunning addition to the garden the first year but quickly can overtake an area and are very difficult to eradicate – DON’T PLANT THESE IN YOUR GARDEN. These types of plants should be kept in a confined space, a pot, flower box, etc. so they can be kept in check.
A cottage garden will reward you with amazing floral scents, a variety of textures and a healthy place for pollinating insects and butterflies. The cottage garden gives the gardener a beautiful bouquet everyday as new flowers emerge en masse!
So go ahead and get started! You will soon receive sensory satisfaction by seeing an artist’s pallet of color every day!