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Create a Cottage Garden

Updated on April 14, 2015
The lovely look of a riot of colors and plants give the cottage garden a lush appearance.
The lovely look of a riot of colors and plants give the cottage garden a lush appearance. | Source

Turn Your Yard into a Romantic Cottage Garden

There's something about a cottage garden that seems so romantic and cozy. I remember visits to my grandparents when I was little. They were devoted gardeners and I spent many magical hours wandering in my grandmother's flower garden. Now I realize that it was a cottage garden with its winding paths, old-fashioned flowers and the garden archway. It was bursting with color, lovely flower scents and interesting textures.

Here are some pictures to inspire you and some tips and links to help you make your own cottage garden.

Graphic available from Zazzle: Summer Cottage Garden by pamdicar

Welcome to My Gardening Page

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Snapdragons - An Old-Fashioned Flower

The colors are great and it's tempting to squeeze the sides of a bloom to see the movement you create, just like a snapping dragon.
The colors are great and it's tempting to squeeze the sides of a bloom to see the movement you create, just like a snapping dragon. | Source

Use Lots of Color in Your Cottage Garden

Don't be timid. Cottage gardens look great with lots of varied colors.

Aren't these snapdragons marvelously colorful and so old-fashioned. There were some in Grandmother Ruth's garden.

Books to Help with Your Cottage Garden

Looking at pictures of cottage gardens really inspire me. Seeing how other gardeners combine their colors and stage their plantings for maximum effect is quite useful. These books may be available at the public library. Get a couple and have a good time browsing.

If your library doesn't have any cottage garden books, these are available from Amazon.

Creating a Cottage Garden in North America

Creating a Cottage Garden in North America
Creating a Cottage Garden in North America

Since cottage gardens are such a tradition in England, many books target the UK audience. This one particularly tells how to create a cottage garden in North America.

 

The Entrance to My Grandmother's Cottage Garden

At the time, I didn't know that my grandmother's garden was a classic cottage garden. I just knew that I loved walking through that archway and wandering around among the flowers. I remember seeing snapdragons in bloom and bells of Ireland. There were hollyhocks and roses. Tea roses, rambling roses and climbing roses.

Obviously it was a labor of love, planting all those flowers and tending them under the hot Kansas sun. What a delightful garden she created.

(photo from the Martin family album)

Tour a Cottage Garden

Get Inspiration from Pinboards on Pinterest

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What to Plant...

Any of the old fashioned flowers like roses, nasturtiums, foxglove, iris, petunias, daisies and so many more will fit your garden perfectly. You'll want an abundance of color and plants to fill all the planting space you can.

Foxglove

foxglove blooms
foxglove blooms | Source

Foxglove - A Traditional Flower for the Cottage Garden

I just planted three clumps of foxglove in my garden. I'm getting lots of compliments on it already. This blooms for 2 years then needs replanting. (photo by Virginia Allain)

Close-Up of a Foxglove Blossom

Each is bell-shaped with speckles inside.
Each is bell-shaped with speckles inside. | Source

Grow Hollyhocks from Seed or Plants

Flower Hollyhock Single Mix D1080 (Multi Color) 25 Heirloom Seeds by David's Garden Seeds
Flower Hollyhock Single Mix D1080 (Multi Color) 25 Heirloom Seeds by David's Garden Seeds

Hollyhocks come in some delightful colors and grow tall enough that you can plant the behind other plants. My mother remembers making flower dolls in her childhood with the hollyhocks for the skirt.

 

Pink Hollyhocks

These can return from seeding themselves on a two-year cycle.
These can return from seeding themselves on a two-year cycle. | Source

Add a Trellis Arch for the Cottage Garden

My grandmother had one of these at the entrance to her flower garden. I loved it and now I have one for my garden too with clematis growing on it.

You can choose from a curved arch or a squared one. Then there are all sorts of materials to select from. The one I have is vinyl and should last a long time. After 6 years, it was looking dingy from mold and dust, but I washed it and it looks like new again.

Arched Garden Arbor

Dublin 45"W x 85"H Vinyl Arbor
Dublin 45"W x 85"H Vinyl Arbor

This one is so pretty, you feel like a bride will appear at any moment to make a ceremonious entrance for a garden wedding.

You can have this graceful arch to enjoy everyday. It invites your visitors to enter and enjoy your plantings.

 

The Entrance Arch for My Garden Is Covered with Clematis

I chose the purple clematis because my grandfather had that growing on a trellis by his house. It comes back year-after-year.
I chose the purple clematis because my grandfather had that growing on a trellis by his house. It comes back year-after-year. | Source

Windsor Arbor Garden Trellis

Windsor Arbor in White Finish
Windsor Arbor in White Finish

This classic look never goes out of style. Plant your favorite vining plant on it. Vintage climbing roses, morning glories, or clematis would all look right-at-home on this arbor.

 

Iris Are a Spring Treat - You'll Want to Include These

They are easy to grow and return every year with stately blooms to give your garden a big splash of color.
They are easy to grow and return every year with stately blooms to give your garden a big splash of color. | Source

More Inspiration for the Cottage Gardener

Designing and Creating a Cottage Garden: How to cultivate a garden full of flowers, herbs, trees, fruit, vegetables and livestock, with 300 inspirational photographs
Designing and Creating a Cottage Garden: How to cultivate a garden full of flowers, herbs, trees, fruit, vegetables and livestock, with 300 inspirational photographs

I can't wait to read this one. Gardening books loaded with photos really inspire me. If it works that way for you, here's the book you want.

 

Plants for Your Cottage Garden - How-To Tips from Susan Golis

The gardener can always use another tote. This iris graphic is lovely.
The gardener can always use another tote. This iris graphic is lovely. | Source

Decide on the Kind of Path You Want for Your Cottage Garden

We just finished this path and put down a mulch surface that's good for all weather. This one is edged with field stone on one side and edging from the garden center on the woods side.
We just finished this path and put down a mulch surface that's good for all weather. This one is edged with field stone on one side and edging from the garden center on the woods side. | Source

Keep a Calendar to Track Your Plantings

Lang January to December, 13.375 x 24 Inches, Perfect Timing Cottage Garden 2015 Wall Calendar by Susan Winget (1001794)
Lang January to December, 13.375 x 24 Inches, Perfect Timing Cottage Garden 2015 Wall Calendar by Susan Winget (1001794)

This calendar will come in quite handy for noting when you fertilized or planting times and other garden notes. I like to look back at last year's calendar to see when certain flowers bloomed.

In addition, calendars like this have lovely flower pictures that can be framed for wall decor later.

 

Nasturtiums Add Color and You Can Even Eat the Flowers

You can pick these flowers to put in salads. The plants withstand areas with high heat. We grew them in Australia and my sister had some in her garden in India.
You can pick these flowers to put in salads. The plants withstand areas with high heat. We grew them in Australia and my sister had some in her garden in India. | Source

Add a Bench to Sit and Admire Your Cottage Garden

Plow & Hearth Weather-Resistant Butterfly Garden Bench, Metal - White - 60¼"L x 17¾"D x 39½"H
Plow & Hearth Weather-Resistant Butterfly Garden Bench, Metal - White - 60¼"L x 17¾"D x 39½"H

No one else in your neighborhood will have such a unique bench. Sweet!

The back is a butterfly with wings outstretched for a very pretty look.

 

My New Hampshire Garden

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© 2010 Virginia Allain

Are You a Garden Lover?

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    • profile image

      Olivia 16 months ago

      Love it, you did a wonderful job. Country gardens are my favorites....

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 16 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I'm a keen gardener and when we purchased our home in Clovelly ( Cape Town) against the mountain, I tried many plants on our sloping terraces. Many never had a change. I needed to learned what plants I can grow in our climate that can take strong winds coming from the Indian ocean. I became a keen succulent gardener and decorated many photos of my collections P.O.D products.

    • profile image

      Lawanda 2 years ago

      Going to put this artclie to good use now.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      @gottaloveit2: How fun to have a whole new area to develop. Take a look at my Create a Tuscan Patio and also the Moonlight Garden one for more ideas.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      Very timely article for me as I'm just now planning for the new garden. We filled in the swimming pool last year (huge YEAH!) and now it's a blank slate. Daunting but fun at the same time.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      This is one of my favorite types of garden. I have never been able to achieve it. Now you have given me some ideas.

    • happydesertgirl profile image

      happydesertgirl 5 years ago

      This lens and these images just make me feel wonderful. What a wonderful informative lens.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      We pretty much dug up our garden last year, and last fall some friends gave us some cuttings from their garden, which have grown nicely and by next year we hope the new garden will really look nice. I love Snapdragons too, wonderful colorful plants.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      Beautiful pictures, and highly inspirational as I'm just finishing my planting for this year's garden! Historically, I've been a rather utilitarian vegetable gardener, but I'm branching this year, adding more flowers and decorative edibles. Your trellis art suggestions have sparked an idea for a project with all those bamboo stakes gathering dust in the backyard...

    • RusticWeddingGu1 profile image

      RusticWeddingGu1 5 years ago

      Gardening is my therapy, I love it, thank you for sahring

    • profile image

      acreativethinker 5 years ago

      One of my favorite types of gardens too! Thanks for sharing. Take Care :)

    • profile image

      Shedbuilder 5 years ago

      My favourite kind of garden

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 5 years ago

      A vibrant garden; the birds, and the bees;

      The soothing breeze; the swaying branches of trees.

      A cloud-speckled azure sky for a canopy;

      For some, the ideal prescription to be happy.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Yes, I'm a big fan of flowers and my grandmother's garden - as I remember it from my childhood - is still a source of inspiration for me. Nice lens! :)

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 6 years ago

      I love colorful gardens with purple, yello, pink and red flowers. They are the best place to have a morning coffee in the spring...

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      Of course, I am :) And I love this page! Ah, a cottage garden... I had a dream: a cottage and his related garden. I love anything British, you know, that's what made me want to live in the countryside. I hope one day I'll be able to arrange my garden the British way and be proud of my cottage garden.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 6 years ago

      Love the pretty flowers.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      I would love to have a cottage garden!

    • semas profile image

      semas 7 years ago

      Pretty and colorful lens.I would love to have a cottage garden:)

    • sirkeystone lm profile image

      sirkeystone lm 7 years ago

      This is a goal of mine in coming seasons. I have been designing my full featured crop garden to be a combination cottage garden/herb garden/orchard. I am currently waiting for the funds to start the raised beds first, then I will start moving forward.

      Another delicous lens my friend!

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love love cottage gardens, I wanted to try to make my garden like this but it is very hard because it is in deep shade for most of the day. So I have a forest of fox gloves and other shade loving plants. This is great lens!

    • profile image

      Susang6 7 years ago

      I love to garden and find that the cottage garden style is most appealing. Thank you for creating this beautiful lens. And your images are perfect. :)