Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Cottage Garden

Cottage gardens are full of plants with a look of unplanned chaos. They give off an aura of natural profusion. The simple lack of design is deceptive.

Masses of color, plants tightly packed, season-long succession of blooms, plant height and light requirements, create a puzzle whose parts need to be carefully orchestrated. I love the challenge.

I have perennials next to evergreens, next to annuals, next to shrubs, next to vegetables. Some years the effect is better than others. Each year is different.

Two years ago part of the garden included cleome, liatris, coneflower, ornamental grass, coleus, holly, salvia, zinnia, canna, mums, pussy willow, hosta, dianthus, bleeding heart, dogwood, lilies, calendula, baby’s breath, hydrangea, snow-on-the-mountain, coral bells and a tomato.

Last year marigolds, asparagus and a profusion of snapdragons were added to the mix.

As the re-seeding annuals pop through the soil this year the work will begin. All the plants that come up in the paths will have to be moved or pulled. In order to get groupings of similar plants together, plants in the wrong place will have to be moved to a central location. Too many seedlings of a single plant will have to be potted and given away or composted. Empty spaces will have to be filled.

I plan to remove the ornamental grass and add sweet peppers, wax beans, parsley, radishes to the mix this year.

It’s an exciting gardening journey.
(More information on cottage garden design from Doug Green at Simple Gifts Farm.)


MeMeMe said...

HI Marie, i'm so busy this year, no time to start seed indoors. When can I start annuals outside? Gardening from Pittsburgh.


Chandramouli S said...

I sure love the way it turned out. Crazy profusion of colors creates a great effect and as you said it's never the same every year! That's what makes it exciting, isn't it? Curious to see what your garden has in store for you this year...

Marie said...

Hi Jeannie,

I believe you are in same zone 6 on the other side of the mountain. The last expected frost date is May 15.

I plant annual seeds in the garden around that date. I have put seeds in a little earlier depending on the weather forecast. Sometimes they do fine but sometimes the frost gets the tender seedlings.

Marie said...


It is exciting to create a new look each year. Mother Nature gives me a great palette.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

It's beautiful, Marie. I think what I like most about it, is that it changes every year.

Marie said...


Yes, it certainly gets the creative juices flowing. The challenge this year will be to give the vegetables enough room to thrive.