Cottage Garden Plants

Cottage Garden Plants


P Duffield

Cottage Gardens date back to Elizabethan times and were originally planted for more practical use than is usual today, herbs and fruits holding sway over plants and flowers grown for decorative purposes.

Over time, the availability of fresh farmed produce has resulted in less need for cottage gardens to be cultivated to for practical purposes, and more decorative cottage garden plants have taken over from their more practical counterparts.

Climbing plants are a very attractive feature of established cottage gardens, and can be used to break up a formal feature such as the wall of an outbuilding, or a boundary fence.

Choose a variety of climbing plants and grow them among each other to give the impression of a semi-wild uncultured display rather than a well trimmed covering if a single variety.


Popular cottage garden climbing plants include the European and Japanese Honeysuckles (Lonicera periclymenum and Lonicera tragophylla) and various species of Clematis including Clematis flammula, Clematis vitalba and Clematis chrysocoma.

With their sparse foliage, climbers will be able to find their way among trees and bushes and along fences to fill up spaces left by other plants, so don t worry when planting them if they have enough room if there is a gap for them to grow through, they will find it.

There is a huge variety of flowering plants to choose for your cottage garden. Among the annuals you can choose are violets, stocks and pansies to name three popular varieties. For perennials there is a huge list of suitable plants, most of which you will know the names of from literature read in your youth, such is the impact that cottage gardens have had on English country life.

Popular perennial examples of cottage garden plants include carnations, sweet william, marigolds, hollyhocks, lilies, peonies, lily-of-the-valley, crocus, cowslips, daisies, foxglove and lavender.

Once you have planted a mixture of these varieties they require very little maintenance each year, just requiring to be tidied up after their season has ended to make way for later flowering plants to take their place.

Although you may think of herbs as being for cooking use, they were at one time deliberately grown for a wide range of uses in cooking, medicine and cleaning.

Herbs that are suitable as cottage garden plants include sage, thyme, sweet woodruff, catmint, soapwort, lungwort, lavender, hyssop, feverfew and wormwood.

Fruit trees were a common feature in cottage gardens in days gone by. Many people would have cultivated one or two apple and pear trees for their fruit and to make cider and perry.

Raspberry and gooseberry bushes were also common, as well as the more common blackberry that today grows wild in many hedgerows. It is also common in some parts of the country to see redcurrants growing among more decorative plants.

A few examples of these fruit trees and bushes will provide a tasty summer fruit salad for very little work in the way of maintenance other than some tidying and pruning.

In today s modern cottage garden, ornamental varieties of fruit trees are also popular, such as crabapple and hazel, and these will live happily alongside a variety of plants in your cottage garden.

Paul Duffield is a keen amateur gardener. You can read more about planting a cottage garden at his website.

Article Source:

Back To Top