Early “Cottage Garden Ideas”
Cottage gardens began with peasant farmers in England hundreds of years ago. Many hard-working laborers did not have enough land for farming, but needed food to feed their families, and herbs to treat various diseases. So they planted herbs veggies and fruits, intermixed with flowers and colorful shrubs, to provide themselves with vegetables and satisfy their medicinal requirements.
The many flowers and shrubs gave these early cottage gardens a homely ambiance, making a difficult life far more bearable.
Cottage Gardens Today.
Today, cottage gardens have been transformed into the most beautiful, scented, flower-filled settings you would ever dream of. They are jammed full with a profusion of flowers, aromatic roses, lilacs, dianthus and much more. Many homeowners today are interested in installing a bounty of flowers and designs, hoping to create such a perfect haven.
Where Do You Begin?
If you are a beginner gardener who is willing and ready to start a cottage garden, you should know that starting one is pretty easy because their not a lot of formalities to follow. Cottage gardens are free flowering, romantic and sensual, fun vegetation, that you can fill with what ever pastel and, or bright hues you may wish. You are able to construct the kind of garden that you will love with very little rules, apart from filling it to the brim with colorful, often scented, flowers, plants, shrubs and herbs.
The only real consideration for the beginner gardener that you don’t make the garden too big to handle. Any garden style will need weeding and cottage gardens are no option.
Generally, cottage garden designs are suited to a sunny environment, as opposed to shady spots. This not only helps to create their beauty through flower development, but also favors biodiversity which helps the garden to become less likely to suffer from pest and diseases.
Most of the flower species used are annual varieties. Because of this, many fabulous gardens simply re-seed themselves each year. Should you find that in any particular year you have a shortage of flowering plants, simply buy some relevant seed types and throw them around the areas you wish to have repopulated.
If you are after an instant color hit, than simply buy a number of punnets of seedlings of the species you like the most and fill them where you find the gaps need filling.
Cottage Garden Ideas.
Usually, the traditional cottage garden surrounds your house from front to the back, spreading over the walls, fencing and onto the pathways. The informality of this style of gardening allows you to have more time to enjoy the beauty and sensuality of your plants.
1). Plants To Choose.
For the most part, the various plants you decide to place in your cottage garden should be those with vibrant colors and strong fragrance. These nectar-rich, scented plants attract bees and butterflies which can often be seen fluttering or busily working throughout this wonderful environment, adding even more beauty to the complete setting.
Rambling or climbing plants, such as the English rose are perfect for cascading over fences, walls and arbors. Scented, colorful bush roses are ideal to place as back drops to the many annual flowers. These roses usually grow with more vigor and height than the modern hybrid varieties, and are ideal for the cottage garden look.
Other common plants for cottage gardens include.
– Lavender: They are beautiful decorative herbs that have fragrant summer blooms. You can fill them in full sun and well-drained soil. Traditionally they were predominately available in various purple tones, but today you can purchase them in many other colors, including pink and white.
They prefer a loamy, humus rich, well drained soil with a high Ph value, usually between 6 to 8. They need a sunny spot in the garden and will thrive for many years when planted in the correct conditions.
– Foxgloves: This is a favorite in many cottage garden. The fill produces an array of beautiful bell-shaped flowers during early summer. They attract all kinds of bees and butterflies, and perform very well in moist well-drained soils. However, they do require some from wind.
– Hollyhock: They produce funnel-shaped flowers that are come a variety of colors to suit any planting scheme.
– Wisteria: wisteria is a beautiful fill for archways and pergolas with an elegant draping feature ideal for a cottage garden. The fill can grow very large over time and should be restricted to bigger cottage gardens, preferably covering the tops of large, long arbors that lead the garden visitors to the home. Their beautiful purple, white or mauve flower spikes will cascade down from the top of the arbor or pergola in a dripping fashion.
– Sweet pea: This is a must have, beautiful annual fill for the cottage garden. Sweet pea definitely are a required fill that adds additional color and fragrance to the area as they either scramble up close taller plants for support, or a planted in a sunny position near a trellis or all where they can be supported. Many of the old world varieties come heavily perfumed and in a huge amount of colors.
-other Varieties: There many other plants that are ideal for cottage gardening, such as peonies, lupines, geranium, daisy, cleomie, campanula, aquilegia and dianthus. Bulbs such as Daffodils, tulips, freesia and snow drops.
The back half of the garden can be filled with flowering shrubs or Saliva, or other perennial flowering plants.
Always make sure each fill is placed close to its neighbors, leaving no gaps in your beds. The whole idea of a cottage garden is that it be filled to the brim with color, variety and scents.
The traditional cottage gardens are today constructed utilizing curving, stone or gravel pathways, as a means to divide various borders. You can use zigzag or meandering pathways in favor of straight edges. Using stepping stones on trails joining different areas of your garden is an ideal way to add structure to the cottage setting.
Traversing these paths, the visitors to these gardens are taken on short, colorful, fragrant adventures. Through archways, past wonderful ornaments, and on towards a restful, peaceful area of the garden. An area where perhaps they can sit down on an old style garden bench and enjoy the surrounding sights.
3).Fencing , Archways and Arbors:
Since cottage gardens are usually small, the style of fence is a very crucial thing to consider. If your wall is permanent, you can paint them a washed out white and add some trellis against them to support heritage climbing roses. All this will add a romantic feel to your cottage garden.
Archways and pergolas are the ideal features to add to any cottage garden. Arches lead one to new areas of the garden. They can be used to create garden rooms or lead to other highlights. Many are covered with climbing plants such as Jasmine, clematis or more roses.
Arbors and archways can also be placed at the entrance to the property at the front gate. The path will lead from this area down through the garden and eventually to the front door. There are many styles of arbors and arches that can be designed to add a pleasant start to the garden stroll.
In a future article I will be showing the beginner gardener how to design and build some of these incredible cottage garden entrances.
4). Rustic features:
There are many rustic features you can add to the garden. Some of these include using old bicycles, wheelbarrows, wagons and also watering cans. Small baskets filled with pansies or violas can be placed hanging from the bicycles handlebars. The Wheelbarrows can be filled with colorful petunia’s that cascade over the edges. Watering cans can be hung from a non usable tap that is positioned on and old fence pole.
The ideas for rustic items to add are endless. My wife has those mentioned, and also utilizes old metal bed heads that she has flowering vines growing over.
5). Garden Ornaments:
Garden ornaments come in all shapes and sizes today. These can be items welded together from scrap metal pieces and painted to resemble birds or animals. They can also be articles such as green frogs, lizards or even gnomes, placed in strategic positions throughout the garden.
I have seen lots of gardens with water features, stone benches, small statues of boys and girls and bird features. The vast amount of different features that can be added to a cottage garden are only limited by one’s imagination.
More “Cottage Garden Ideas” To Come.
So I’ve given you some ideas centered around what plants and ornaments to place in a cottage garden, as well as whether to use Arches, Arbors, Walls and trellises. You have learned that garden paths lead to adventure in these gardens. That plants should bring color, scents and ambiance to the delightful patch.
There is nothing so magnificent as a cottage garden in full bloom. The insects, birds and wildlife will love and enjoy it, so will you. Why not make a start on your ‘Garden Paradise’ today.
Happy Gardening. Jim
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