Fill It With Flowers: Cottage Gardens

Abundant planting and a mass of flower forms define the cottage garden. Here, we share two examples of cottage gardens - one, with a limited planting palette and the other, with a wider range of colors.

Cottage Garden with Walkway

Cottage Garden with Walkway

Photo by: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Garden Design, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - Garden Design

Sea of Plants and Flowers

Designed for a flower show with the intention of experimenting with perennials, this garden creates the sensation of swimming through plants.

Designers Page and Van Groeningen say:

"This layout was based on Karl Foerster’s own garden in Potsdam, Germany, so it’s not typical of our work. The planting, however, is. Influenced by the English style, it incorporates colorful matrix planting, and drifts of plants and flowers are reminiscent of Edwardian woodland gardens. These themes recur a lot in our work."

"Generally, our influences are varied and we often bounce ideas off each other to develop design solutions. English garden designers, such as Vita Sackville-West, Geoffrey Jellicoe, and Charles Wade, are a major influence. We also like to work with existing elements and create the garden and planting around them."

Key ingredients include: White foxglove (image 1); Japanese forest grass (image 2); 'Sum and Substance' hosta (image 3); Shirley Blue speedwell (image 4).

Other Elements

Duchesse de Nemours peony (image 1); Golden columbine (image 2); 'Royal Standard' hosta (image 3); Moonshine yarrow (image 4).

Restrained Palette

Simple, clean paving provides a cool and orderly contrast to the seemingly haphazard, densely packed pockets of hot-hued planting in this cottage garden. The use of gravel allows plants to self-seed, creating additional random patterns of spontaneous growth. Grasses, seedheads and bulbs create veils of foliage and texture.

Designer Blom says:

"This view is just one part of a multi-leveled garden—the different parts of which are connected by walkways and steps, so that, overall, the design flows nicely. The clients were a young family, and the design needed to be robust, allowing the children to play freely."

"We agreed a strategy of hard-wearing, virtually indestructible materials that would be softened with romantic planting. This seems to have paid off, as the garden has matured well. We have recently added yew hedging in order to create a visual anchor in winter."

"I am inspired by many different things, but, on this occasion, the work of Italian architect Carlo Scarpa was very important in creating the design—in terms of flow and visual stimuli."

Key ingredients include: River birch(image 1); Five-leaf akebia (image 2); "Patricia" geranium (image 3).

Other Elements

Drumstick allium (image 1); Brazilian verbena (image 2); Blue switchgrass (image 3).

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