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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.

Abundant Flowers and Colors Define Cottage GardenSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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).

  • White Foxglove Old Fashioned Cottage Garden FlowerSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Golden Forest Grass is Unique Colorful OrnamentalSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Sum and Substance Hosta is Botanical GiantSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Veronicas Provide Truest Blues in GardenSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Other Elements

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

  • Garden Peonies Has Elegant Shaped Fragrant BloomsSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Golden Columbine Adds Burst of Color to GardenSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Royal Standard Hosta is Vigorous Blooming FavoriteSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Moonshine Yarrow has Showy Bloom Throughout SummerSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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).

  • River Birch Known for Cinnamon Hued Peeling BarkSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Bloom of Chocolate Vine has Sweet Chocolate ScentSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Hardy Geranium Displays Vivid Star Shaped BloomsSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Other Elements

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

  • Ornamental Onion has Globe Shaped Packed BloomsSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Purpletop Verbena has Showy Blooms All SummerSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
  • Popularity of Switchgrass for Fuel Source RisesSimple Steps: Vegetable Gardening ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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