More Cottage Gardens
Don't let a lack of acreage stand between you and a bountiful flower bed: The philosophy behind these unrestrained plots is, after all, the more the merrier.
Cottage gardens are casual but deliberate. They celebrate both beauty and utility through thoughtful plant choices, arrangement, spacing, and companion planting. A mindful design will result in a healthy and interesting outdoor space.
Here, a lichen-encrusted fence furnishes an effervescent front yard with a measure of rusticity and self-restraint.
Spiky purple veronica pierces a three-foot fence draped in morning-glory foliage.
In an ingenious bit of companion planting, insect-repelling marigolds sown in a simple terra-cotta pot cozy up to a thriving cherry tomato vine. Across the narrow brick walk, bright pink impatiens carry the energetic spirit captured by the window boxes' bright petunias to a container marking the main entry, creating a dramatic sense of arrival in an unassuming setting.
Well-constructed rooftop latticework gives climbing roses breathing room, improving rain runoff as well as circulation around the plants (thereby reducing chance of disease).
Chartreuse sweet potato vine cascades from a window box into a sea of blue and white.
A neatly spaded edge and sculpturally sheared privet hedge offer clean-lined counterpoints to an impressive blend of annuals and perennials, including pink snapdragons, pale-yellow dahlias, purple coneflower (Echinacea pupurea), and towering hollyhocks.
Order in the border: For a well-balanced mix, place tallest in the back, shorter companions in the front, a la your Senior Class photo. Nursery tags tell the story of what a plant will look like when full grown.
Variations in foliage shape, size, and texture contribute visual interest, even when color is spare.
Sun-dappled corners under deciduous trees call for plants that do well in light sun or shade, such as hydrangeas, perennial grasses, and variegated coleus.
An extended evergreen branch adds an exotic note to a cottagey mix of roses, black-eyed Susans, and hydrangeas.
In a cottage garden near the sea, the fat, juicy hips of drought- and disease-resistant rugosa roses brighten borders at summer's end, when flowers give way to fruit, attracting migrating birds to backyard sanctuaries.