When it comes to traditional cottage gardens it’s easy to picture a white picket fence, neatly arranged flower beds and romantic reading nooks under billowing trees. But creating a charming cottage garden full of beauty and charm is achievable in any space and can be strictly traditional or simply inspired by different plants with a nod to the cottage style.
Read on for design and planting ideas to help you create the wild, floral and fragrant garden of your dreams.
In its simplest form, a cottage garden is any outdoor space densely packed with flowering plants. Take it up a level by interweaving some edibles and aromatics like mint. There are no firm rules when it comes to cottage garden design but here a few tips and tricks to achieve an eye-catching result.
Cover the Entire Area Avoiding areas of bare soil is important in traditional cottage gardens. This is what gives them the wild and charming look. Be sure to learn the mature size of plants and plan to fill garden beds without any large gaps.
Got space? Pop in some Winding paths Cottage gardens often have a magical, whimsical charm. Creating a path that you can’t see the end of achieves an informal feeling and and an atmosphere of tranquility.
Add Height Vertically Many cottage garden plants are low-growing annuals and shrubs. Create more visual interest with vertical height, which can be achieved with garden structures like tripods and arches or even old wheel barrows.
Plant to Soften Hard Landscaping Planting to cover fences, retaining walls and the edges of paths is a great way to achieve an untamed garden look and soften edges of paths.
Create Connection with Repeat Colours and Plants While cottage gardens can have a chaotic look, choosing a few key colours will help tie the whole garden together, tying it all together. Picking one plant to repeat in each space of your garden or pots will also tame add unity to the design.
Mixing annuals with perennials is the traditional approach to cottage garden planting and there are plenty of plants suitable for Australian conditions, so long as they are well nourished. You can even reduce work with self-seeding annuals and each year more and more plants pop up without you lifting a finger. Here are some cottage garden plant options we stock for you to consider.
Stunning Star Jasmine
You’ll smell it before you see it with this beautiful evergreen vine featuring dark green and glossy foliage and bursts of tiny white flowers during the year. This climber is ideal for making a romantic impact over trellises, pergolas or arches, but can also be creatively introduced as a ground cover, draped over rockery and so forth. In warmer months from about October, the plant produces clusters of highly perfumed, star-like white flowers. Once established Star Jasmine is drought tolerant, but it thrives best in full sun and well drained soil
Whether you are creating a delightful cottage country garden or simply enjoy birds and bees visiting your garden, lavender is a timeless favourite with so many side benefits!
A variety we love is The Diamonds in the Dark® 'Lavender Lace, which features an almost black foliage that emerges in spring. The Lavender Lace displays masses of lavender flowers in summer through to autumn. The plant makes a stunning hedge or it can be planted along borders or driveways. They can also be featured in pots as a feature plant on your patio or balcony. This drought tolerant plant is perfect size for smaller gardens too.
Crepe Myrtles are by far one of the most popular and picturesque plants for a cottage garden with plenty of vibrancy to create that wow moment. There are several varieties of Crepe Myrtle ranging from those with dark foliage that emerges in spring to more vibrant green trees.
This plant makes a stunning hedge, can be placed along borders or driveways or presented in pots feature plants on your patio or balcony. Crepe myrtles are deciduous and will lose their foliage in late autumn, but most varieties boast masses of vivid soft pink, red or white flowers in summer through to autumn making it a spectacular plant to highlight in your front garden or as a decorative zone in other areas. This drought tolerant plant is great size for smaller gardens too.
Nothing says cottage garden like camellias with their vibrant and soft flowers. Our Paradise Pearl variety has soft pink buds opening to semi double white flowers, making it a wonderful flower for arranging in a vase. This plant is truly versatile with a hardy upright evergreen shrub with dark, glossy green foliage.
Use them for screening, as a hedge or espalier, the training of trees and shrubs against a flat surface.
This dwarf variety of the classic Magnolia still has its trademark contrasting dark green glossy foliage with brown undersides and rich fragrant flowers. Its full size creamy white, scented flowers add to the overall beauty of this tree and makes it a great choice for feature trees or hedging. The Magnolia Little Gem prefers full sun to part shade and grows between 4m to 5m.
It's not all about the height when it comes to choosing your plants. When opting for a larger plant, more mature plants with larger root balls are all important as they support quicker growth than smaller sizes.