A COTTAGE garden can bring the feel of the country into any space and with the right plants and layout can be easily created around any style or age of property.
Informal in looks and packed with plants, cottage gardens are ideal for anyone wishing to grow lots of plants in a small area. Although relaxed and unstructured in appearance there are some golden rules that apply when creating a cottage garden
Keep it relatively small in size
Avoid straight lines - so have curved beds and winding paths
Let plants spill over onto paths and walkways
Choose path materials that complement your home and garden so traditional materials such as brick, stone and gravel
If you can, give the garden a backdrop with hedges, rustic fencing or a wall
Make it your own with structural focal points such as arbours, obelisks and small trees and shrubs
Have a good mix of plants and repeat plants and colours to create a flow and harmony
When it comes to plant selection pick ones that are robust and tough as there is lots of competition for space in a cottage garden and don’t forget to add in scented plants like honeysuckle, roses and lavenders. Also, a cottage garden looks amazing in summer but will have a quiet season in winter so make sure you plant winter and spring bulbs to give colour all year round.
Classic cottage plants include ones that provide a bit of height such as delphiniums, lupins, foxgloves and hollyhocks which are usually scattered through the borders. Roses are also essential – both bush and climbers – and the more highly scented the better.
Try using perennials rather than annuals. Perennials come back each year and are much less work – which is why roses, geraniums and lavender are popular choices. And don’t forget to deadhead – every couple of days in the summer – to keep the garden looking fresh and colourful and to help plants to produce more flowers.
Sun and colour are two things that the garden is benefiting from this month, but as the longest day of year arrives the gardening ‘to do’ list also gets longer. Here’s what the experts say ...
June 21st is the longest day of the year, and the extra light and warmth encourages the garden to put on an exuberant burst of growth. But this extra light and warmth also means weeds will sprout up from seemingly nowhere. Keep on top of them by hoeing regularly in dry conditions.
Summer is finally here – the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the garden is bursting into life. It’s time to care for your roses, so keep an eye out for black spot and aphid attacks and treat immediately. Deadhead any faded flowers to encourage fresh buds to grow and apply a rose fertiliser after the first flush of flowers. You need to stake growing plants such as Delphiniums, Hollyhocks and Lupins or tie them to walls and fences. The side shoots of climbers should also be tied in to train them along trellis or wire supports. Don’t forget to make sure you also keep weeds down. They use up vital nutrients and moisture that are needed by the plants.
David Domoney, TV gardener and presenter
The British are a nation of garden visitors. Join the rush, but make the visit a profitable one by walking round with a critical eye, memory or notebook at the ready. If permitted, a camera is indispensable. Check the opening arrangements, which can vary infinitely. Bone up on the key features of the garden in advance, but don’t crowd your mind with facts-let the garden speak for itself, and look at the broad picture, as well as the fine detail. Extra benefits include a word with the owner or gardener, worthy plants for sale and, of course, afternoon tea.