My ideal garden look – Cottage Garden Style
I was asked recently about my favourite style of planting, a safe “go to” when the possibility arises. I have to say it didn’t even take me a minute to come back with an answer. My all-time favourite way of keeping a garden might be old fashioned to some, might be a great come back for others. What it really is though is an everlasting and always on trend. There are no strict rules to follow, no specific plants to use. Just us, the garden and our imagination! The cottage garden style ladies and gents.
Why the Cottage Garden look?
Even though I love all plants and appreciate different garden styles, my heart always takes me back towards natural, soft and colourful look of a mixed perennials border. There is something charming and warm about the mixture of shades and textures. Ideal for a country cottage or a small garden nestled among concrete walls alike.
There really is no rule why one can’t have a cottage garden in a townhouse. I think, because I grew up in a city, with virtual zero gardening possibilities I favour “free spirited” planting. This way my garden is a constant surprise. It brings me joy and what is most important keeps “weeds anxiety” at bay. Because borders planted in a medley of flowers don’t show weeds half as much as formal, manicured lawns.
Creating the look
The cottage garden style can be created over time, which is another plus, especially when one has to consider household budget.
There are no rules against multiple use of the same plant in slightly different spot. Suddenly splitting your plants seem like a desirable way to spend an afternoon or two.
Recently we have gardening groups advertising “swapping” events on social media all over the country. Apart from great way to save money, it is an ideal place to meet like-minded people and learn from their experiences.
I have to say- there can be some rare gems swapping hands during those events, so it would be wise to check them out.
By carefully planning our finished look we can achieve colour from early spring to late autumn. Plants such as: geraniums, salvias, nepetas, salvias, alstromerias and rudbeckias will ensure there is plenty interest in the bed or border. By adding some structural plants, for example eryngium or perovskie and some texture plants such as stachys byzantina or pony tail grass we make sure to add another dimension to our garden. And what a treat for the senses!
For me garden is all about joy, happiness, relaxation and rejuvenation.
I find all of those, and more in a calm, natural environment filled with insect buzzing, leaves rustling and sun peeking through the foliage. The last thing I want to do is focus on a stray blade of grass, or even a dandelion smiling at me from the curb.
As I said at the beginning, I appreciate all garden styles, there is a space for each and every one of them. Just not really in my own. I identify with easy going, spontaneous and cheerful style of a cottage garden, where fairies are free to dance and kiss my plants goodnight.
Magda O’ Byrne