In June we looked at our cottage garden coming to life but the beauty of a cottage garden is that nothing ever stays still for long, flowers pass over, go to seed and other flowers take over. The last cirsium seed is being blown on the wind and the elderflower is just blossoming.
The great thing about the self seeded cottage garden is that you learn what each plant looks like as a seedling and find yourself delighting in finding it several gardens away. We used to find that at Drovers, in a suburban area we could track which way the wind blew weeks ago as the lychnis escaped from garden to garden.
Though it is a short lived perennial like cirsium, it is worth having it in your garden. A bee friendly plant, and goodness knows we all need more of those, it is also a most forgiving plant and once acclimatized is hardy little bugger that will spread and spread. Yet, cottage gardens are more than flowers and even among the lychnis, the promise of helianthus and crazy bum daisies to come, there is the wisp of fennel herb and raspberries.
The great thing about cottage gardens is that more is actually less. The more you shoe horn in the less you will have to weed and even in the glasshouse we have loads of dianthus ready to go as the cottage garden spills down the hill towards the house, a mixture of self seeding and cuttings softening the new fruit plot.
There are often surprises in the cottage garden when you grow from seed, when dahlias sown from seed have hybridized into something else and there is a sense of fun of the unexpected. So what if it's garish, so what if it sticks out like a sore thumb, let it be a riot of colour rather than a muted fizzle of a dog end.
More importantly a cottage garden can be fun, can accommodate fruit and vegetables, and a five year old who dreams of a sunflower house which is quickly taking shape after being planted less than two weeks ago.