While formal gardens emphasize order and defined spaces, cottage gardens bloom in a cheerful mix of flowers that offer various textures and hues. Darrell Trout, a passionate gardener, writer, lecturer, and speaker, says that cottage gardens are “relaxed and colorful” and that they can be fun to grow.
Cottage gardens tend to require less maintenance because nature is free to roam these areas, rather than the meticulous mini ping required for other styles. Trout said that cottage gardens are less concerned about following the rules than doing what they love. The following suggestions and advice will make it easier to cultivate your own garden of beautiful flowers.
How to create a cottage garden
Cottage gardens are deliberately casual. These tips will make your garden look beautiful throughout the year.
1. Start a Cottage Garden from Scratch
Trout warns that it is not a good idea to create a monster that you don’t have the time or ability to feed. Keep your cottage garden small but most importantly, keep it fun. You will find your confidence increases, and the garden grows in size.
2. Invest in Good Soil
Trout suggests that you start with organic soil rich in nutrients and can support your plants with minimal watering and fertilizing. To find out the type and condition of your soil, Trout suggests a soil test. You can either purchase compost or make your own organic matter.
3. Take Care when placing plants
A cottage garden design is hard work when you don’t have the right plant. Trout believes that you can push your limits as you gain more gardening experience. Trout adds that the ideal conditions are what will make plants healthier and more resilient to disease.
4. Get tough garden plants
Trout’s favorites on his cottage garden plant list are spring-flowering bulbs (Echinacea purpurea), purple coneflowers (Echinacea aurora), wild indigos (Baptisia Australia), ‘Stella d’Oro’ (or ‘Happy Returns’) Daylily (Hemerocallis), New England aster, Symphyotrichum novae–angliae ‘Alma Potschke’), Russian sage ‘) and Russian sage(Perovskia ‘), ‘). Roses add a romantic touch to any garden, but be careful with high-maintenance varieties. Trout suggests that you plant tough, disease resistant Knock Out shrub roses, or the old-fashioned climber, ‘Blaze. Try English cottage garden plants for foliage interest like lady’s thorn (Alchemilla Maris), lamb’s ears, Stachys byzantina (Helene Von Stein), or blue Fescue (Festuca Viridis).
Trout suggests that you choose plants that can withstand bullets and are high-performance. “There’s no one right or wrong way of creating a cottage yard. Choose what you enjoy.”
5. Cover Soil
Trout says that mulching keeps the soil moist and helps prevent weeds from growing. Mulch improves soil by reducing organic mulch (bark or compost, leaf mold, etc.). Mulch can also give your garden a cleaner and more cohesive appearance.
6. Automated Watering
For hands-free watering, trade dragging a hose. Trout recommends drip lines for “easy watering, no need to worry about the foliage or flowers.” Trout also notes that drip lines are more efficient as “less water evaporates into air.”
Cottage Garden Ideas: Low-Maintenance
These are some tips to help you design a beautiful cottage garden that is easy to maintenance.
Hardscaping: Set off Plants
The anchoring properties of boulders are excellent year-round anchors. Pickets and rustic fences can also create a beautiful backdrop to cottage gardens, adding order to the chaos of mixed plantings.
Plant Long-Lasting Annuals
Many annuals can be used as cottage garden plants in full or partial shade. They can bloom all summer long without needing any extra care. Some of them, like love in a mist (Nigella), or cockscombs(Celosia), can reseed themselves and not become a pest. This adds to the naturalistic, casual appearance of your cottage gardens without any effort on your part.
Create a path through the garden
Garden paths provide visual relief from densely planted plants. You can make your landscape more inviting and easier to manage. You should consider who will be walking through your garden in what type of shoes. This will help decide whether you want a gravel or wood chip surface or a concrete surface. You can also choose a grass path, which is a good alternative for areas with low foot traffic. However, you will need to mow it regularly.