There's simply something charming about a wild profusion of flowers. That could explain the popularity of the old-fashioned cottage garden. As the Landscaping Network points out, such gardens originated among the country folk of the English countryside. They couldn't afford to plant formal gardens like estate owners could, so they shared plantings and let them grow with wild abandon. Design your garden to evoke the romantic appeal of old world cottage gardening.
Start with Anchoring Shrubs
The first step to your old-fashioned cottage garden is planting anchoring shrubs. Any flowering shrub works well. If you'd like scent, opt for a shrub such as mock orange or jasmine. Rose is a classic for the English garden. You could also opt for shrubs with showy flowers, such as bougainvillea or rhododendron. Place these around your yard as focal points, meaning you want to draw the eye there.
Add Pretty Flowers and Plants
Flowers such as peonies, dahlias and daisies are traditional for an English cottage garden, as are plants such as lady's mantle and lamb's ear. However, almost any plantings work – look for species that fare ware in your climate. The key is to plant them close together and allow them to spill into different spaces. Give them enough room to grow, but don't plant them in regular rows. Rather, plant them in clusters, and encourage them to slightly grow over paths or other free spaces. For example, peony plants offer a relaxed, full, and colorful appeal to your garden.
Carve out a Walkway
The English cottage garden is made for strolling. Encourage this with a meandering pathway. Take a straight path, and add curves to it. You could add a big, sweeping curve or a couple sharper curves, depending on the size of your yard. Indeed, a curving pathway creates a feeling of more space in your yard. Pave the pathway with stone pavers for an old-world feel.
Consider Accent Pieces
Consider giving guests another reason to linger by installing accent pieces such as a bench, fountain or stone statue. These should be hidden gems tucked away among the fecund foliage. You could also use the accent piece as the reason to add a curve to your walkway. Either place the installation slightly in the way of the path, or divert the path to overlook the pretty piece.
Include a Gate or Arbor
Create a romantic tableau with a gate or arbor. White picket is the characteristic material for such an installation. For an authentic ambience, look for an antique or antique-look gate or arbor. Place it somewhere along the path. It doesn't have to be an actual entrance, but use it as a transition space, perhaps from a cutting garden to an open area. A very charming effect is to plant a vine at the base and train it to climb over the structure.
Channel the romantic English countryside with your old fashioned cottage garden.