A cottage garden is the kind of relaxation area that needs to be planned out before spring comes rolling in. Here’s the best way to do exactly that.
The Goal and Definition of a Cottage Garden
The point of a cottage garden is to attract visitors and entice them to stay awhile. It’s not supposed to be a formal garden, but rather a freewheeling garden that’s abundant and generous to the senses. As such, it follows that vines should be made to climb porch posts, your roses should be made to twine around arches or arbors, other flowers should overflow in their beds together with herbs or maybe even edibles.
Also, the garden should burst with colours, and should be set up to be a “happy clutter” that complements your house’s character, usually within a small lot. As for your house’s character, know that any house style can be made more charming when the usual cottage plants are set up near or around it: delphinium, hollylocks, hydrangea, and iris. Of course, the plants to choose should be those bred to be able to grow in local conditions. Also, you should plant in your cottage garden many of the same plant.
Order in Chaos
The first known cottage plots or gardens in history were built to provide the needed food and, to some extent, beauty that inspires when hard times come. These days, while the cottage garden still serves the same purpose to varying degrees, it’s now bound closely with the house which it frames, which serves as its guide to its materials and layout. In other words, today’s cottage gardens have some order to maintain its beauty.
One way to ensure the balance between chaos and order in the cottage garden is to plan before planting any plants or trees. Here are a number of elements that need to be considered.
Gates and Fences
Back in the day, plants of the cottage garden were enclosed in order to prevent the entry of livestock, and picket fences are still considered a decent shortcut to the space that resembles your grandmother’s garden. This is because they provide protection and separation as well as visibility to everyone who pass by. A front fence can make the appearance of sprawling plants neater, and support well any rambling and tall flower stems.
Natural and rustic materials like bent willow, latticed bamboo, and painted wood are suitable for gating and fencing purposes, provided that these match well with your house’s appearance. As for gates, these should be low and welcoming, not discourage approach.
Hedges and Walls
Although it is true that houses and landscapes need to relate at all times, in the case of the cottage garden, each only supports the purpose and appearance of the other. Keep in mind that in a tight space, every single inch counts. As such, beyond being a backdrop, your cottage can be considered as a different garden surface, one that is ideal for any overflowing trellises and window boxes where vines can climb. In turn, your garden extends the lines of the house outside, at times in walls which echo its textures whilst enclosing living spaces or areas.
If you’re after an alternative that costs less, clipped hedges, able to define space as well as provide a stable structure to any sprawling plants, are recommended. In order to ensure order throughout the year, select evergreens such as wax myrtle, boxwood, or yew to serve as your hedging. Together with shrubs and small trees, plant them early on so they have enough time to grow.
Pergolas and Paths
Even the smallest of landscapes can look larger once they are broken up into parts, thus adding purpose and variety to daily strolls done there. The cottage garden supported by a large rainwater tank is intended to be used, and walkways link pieces and experiences together. Informal paths are the best option as they are able to carry through any paving themes—driveway gravel or patio flagstone. Overhead structures clad with vines, common with this style of garden, contribute a sense of romance and shelter whilst they point special spots out. A wisteria arbor can reveal the path to a well-hidden bench; a grape vine with fruits might wrap around a pergola set above one dining table. When shaped and inspired by the form of the house, these features can add some architectural richness to the outside.
When painted deep green, an arbor and wooden fence provide a subtle backdrop which showcases the hawthorn shrub’s white blooms as well as the clematis vine’s pink flowers.
Amid teeming beds that surround a cottage, one can have birdbaths, sundials, and maybe even fountains placed, as all these can focus one’s eyes, still one’s mind, and give smiles. Despite their benefits, however, restraint is still necessary so as to avoid complicating the entire picture. And one way to exercise restraint is by using plants as ornaments. Clipped boxwood gloves can be added in either pots or garden beds as substitutes for sculptures. These trim lines work well as welcome foil for any cottage plants’ untamed beauty.