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.

Planting the cottage garden

A good cottage garden is like a rising aria, a glorious firework display in the depths of winter, it sings to the soul, it creeps and sneaks around your wider garden finding new places to seed in and it rarely gets it wrong. The lychnis we so loved at Drovers has learnt to love the hedges, at last these slowly towering hornbeams are giving solace to the more tender plants we brought with us and the lychnis is starting to self seed. 

Self seeded perennials are great in the cottage garden.

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.

Self seeded plants will teach you what seedlings look like.

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.

Mix in perennial fruit and herbs in a cottage garden

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.

Dianthus is a great addition to the cottage garden borders.

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.

Dahlias are great in the cottage garden

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.

A cottage garden can be fun for kids too.


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