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Cottage Garden Plants & Flowers

The beast perennials, roses and more for an English cottage garden

When one walks through a cottage garden they are often captured by the exuberant, free-flowering, and unrestrained appeal. Noted for their lush, colorful, seemingly unplanned landscapes, English cottage gardens utilize every bit of growing space. Blooming plants in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures spill over into walkways, climb up arbors, and burst out of planters.

Peonies Best known for their colorful flowers and fragrance, peonies are great for a cottage garden.

Cosmos With many colors available, Cosmos can be matched to other colors in a garden or used for contrast.

Foxgloves Great for creating a vivid focal point in partially or deeply shaded area of your garden.

Snapdragons These brightly colored annual flowers thrive as border plants and are a good for cutting gardens.

Pansies With many unique color combinations you're sure to find pansies that fit your color palette.

Climbing Iceberg This rose is a great one for training up walls, fences or arbors. Produces large blooms in summer.

Cottage gardens are all about unbridled abundance. This means that you will squeeze vast amounts of plants into small spaces. Don't underestimate how many plants you will need to create the cottage garden effect.

The chaos of a cottage garden needs be controlled. As informal and unplanned as an English cottage garden seems, there are a few rules to consider. The first rule is that you should plant in layers - taller plants should be in the background, medium plants in the middle, and shorter plants in the foreground. The second rule is that you should have a color palette. Select mainly cool colors (blues, purples, whites, yellows) or mainly warm colors (reds, oranges, magentas). This will help provide unity to your garden.

To achieve the quaint cottage feel, plant romantic, old-fashioned plants. Great flowers for an English garden include peonies, cosmos, foxgloves, snapdragons, pansies, hollyhocks and of course roses. Evergreen shrubs should be used to provide structure and balance to your garden. Also consider adding a small tree such as a magnolia. Traditional plants for a cottage garden require a good amount of water, if you live in a dry climate, native plants can be used to create a similar feel. Consult your local nursery to find out which plants will grow best in your area.

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