7 Characteristics of a Cottage Garden
1. The design is informal
Don’t expect to see long rows of plants, which are reminiscent of toy soldiers marching in line. Instead, expect masses of plants, thickly planted borders, and loosely tousled plant groupings, that seem to ramble without shame past their original boundaries. As the cottage garden designer, you live by one rule… put what you like, where you like it, and let it stay there until you say so!
2. Plants are grown close together
Different than most gardens, the cottage garden has little in the way of open spaces. This serves many purposes including; the ability to grow a greater number and greater diversity of plants, less room for weeds to grow, less of a need for plant staking, less of a need for mulching, and visually pleasing due to the masses of color and texture.
3. The plants are easy to grow and maintain
The typical cottage garden includes plants that are known to be hardy, and almost take care of themselves! They also spread and reseed freely. This allows you to both fill your own garden quicker & cheaper, and to share plants with others as well. Also, with such a diversity of plant material, you don’t see the same types of disease problems that you might typically see in a large bed filled with only one type of plant.
4. Many different types of plants are grown together
Unlike a formal garden, you can expect to find virtually any type of plant in a cottage garden. It’s not unusual to see trees, shrubs, vines, bulbs, perennials, annuals, herbs, berries, and fruits and vegetables, all growing together in one space.
5. The cottage garden is filled with life
Because there are so many different types of plants growing in the cottage garden, it can’t help but naturally attract many different types of wildlife to come enjoy the bounty. Everything from butterflies and an array of birds, to frogs and turtles, to the occasional rabbit or fox. Many growers also decide to expand their gardens to include bees for pollination & honey, or small animals like chickens for eggs, their natural fertilizer, and their ability to forage and rid the garden of many different types of insects.
6. Other elements help add beauty to the plants themselves
There are many different objects that have been used to help bring beauty to the cottage garden. Although you may use any items that you love, here are a few that you might want to think about: birds houses, bird baths, vintage bird cages, bird feeders, picket fences, wattle fences, vintage cloches, architectural elements, arbor, stone path or walls, fountain, sundial, clay pots, antique garden tools, and rustic benches.
7. The cottage garden needs to be loved
After you’ve taken so much time to create this little slice of heaven, be sure to take the time to enjoy it as much as possible… both by yourself & with a dear friend.