Cottage Gardens

Folks, I have been looking all over the internets to find out what an “English Garden” is an coming up more and more confused by the seeming disconnect between what people are calling an English Garden and what an English garden seems to be.

But I just discovered, it’s a cottage garden.  They mean a cottage garden.

Which, if I had a home, I could grow.

I wonder if it’d be wise to just buy a lot, put my garden on it, and then, once the wisteria over the deck got thick enough, use that for shelter.

13 thoughts on “Cottage Gardens

  1. A word of advice — if you want a pretty flower garden you must have lots of sun. Take into consideration the direction the house faces, where shadows from the house and from neighboring yards will fall, and what adding a fence will do to the sun situation.

    Not that I would know the frustrations of too much shade or anything like that.

  2. if you want it you can have it… I gave away a bunch but have a small rectangular pot with about 12 or more seedlings in it. I have this left and it’s yours if you want it — the wisteria, not the pot. I will also have some pink hollyhock, rose campion and (pinkish red) columbine seed up for the taking after the growing season.

    What I have now is light purple/lavender in color but I also have access to some white wisteria, but don’t have the seeds in my possession yet.

  3. I’m sorry. I’m about falling out of my chair. Yes, yes, I do. What can I give you in return? And, if I take them now, do you think they’ll do all right in pots until I find a place?

    Also, I’ll gladly have some seeds later.

    Holy cow. I love my readers.

  4. hmmm, in return? well, beer is lovely, matches my decor, is in season and is the right size. ;-) — PBR cans is my current phase of beverage brand.

    yes, they will do fine in pots, and I have some extra. You can’t kill wisteria, and if you do, I can get you more seed. My mom has a plant in her yard and she hates the seeds and has me scoop them up.

    I’ll send directions. I’ll be home all day/night

  5. You don’t have to have loads of full sun to have a lovely garden. The shade gardener may have to plan a little more carefully and the effect may be more subtle, but you can still have something really nice.

    On the other hand, you do need a fair bit of sun for the big, showy flowers like dahlias and cannas and so forth.

  6. Or bright colors. You just can’t have bright colors without sun. Even bright-colored impatiens go all muted. You can have azaleas, though.

  7. You freaking scare me sometimes, you know?

    When shopping for our house the one “must have” was a Southward facing backyard. Largely for my…


    Which I think you’ve been here and not seen because it’s tucked away along the one fence wall. But I have much love for it. I cannot more highly recommend Wisteria. The lavender blooms that Beth has tend to be more highly-scented than the white ones, in my experience.

    The one sad thing is that it only blooms twice–once in early spring and once around august, so you’re limited to the amount of evening scent throughout the summer.

    Which is why we’re planting honeysuckle along the lattice wall this weekend to give us summer scenting.

    Kat’s Wisteria and dog close up.

    Oh, and also wanted to say that cottage gardens, while lovely, seem to be hard to keep around here. I haven’t done one in a couple years, but had them the first 6 years we lived here. My experience is that the only bedding plants which do well through the season here are hardy vines (Wisteria, Trumpet Vine, Honeysuckle, Morning Glory, Clematis, Climbing Rose) and flowering bushes like Butterfly Bush.

    Some of the more delicate cottage garden plants–lobelia, foxglove, bellflower, torenia, petunia, million bells–all seem to do better in pots. I had much better luck with large half-barrel planters and urn planters for those flowers. The varying temps from spring to late summer and the soil consistancy seems to be rooting (ha!) against success for most of those, in my experience anyway.

    The plus though about container gardening is that it does save your back and knees.

  8. yeah, Kat, thanks for mentioning the scent of the lavendar ones… they smell divine. I love love love wisteria and people seem to be scared of it for fear of it taking over. I adore it.

    And Kat, should you want some white wisteria seed, let me know – I should have some within a few months. I’ve never gotten close enough to it to know about the scent, but it’s absolutely beautiful.

  9. I don’t know if Wisteria alone could provide a good shelter, but you’re in luck. I’ve heard that a hearty, fast-growing, Japanese plant called Kudzu could grow really well in the south-eastern United States.

  10. you do not want to plant kudzu purposefully under any circumstance… other than dealing with an erosion problem… It is like the wildfire of the plant world the way it spreads and is difficult to control.

  11. Beth, can I just say out loud how awesome it is that you gave me wisteria (and the columbine seeds!). Thank you so much. Really.

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