Country gardens, developed from kitchen gardens, contained an assortment of edible plants, scented flowers and medicinal herbs. All were grown conveniently next to the kitchen, according to Charlie Ryrie, author of "The Country Garden." Gardeners would trade cuttings and seeds with each other to broaden the selection of plants. Country garden borders are the opposite of formal borders, which are rigidly maintained and manicured.
Hollyhocks and sunflowers grow to 6 feet tall. Some varieties of sunflowers are even taller. Tall flowers in the back of the border won't block sunlight from short flowers in front of them. Other tall flowers include butterfly bush, which has small flowers clustered at the end of the stems; delphiniums blooming in blues, purple and white; and cosmos reaching 4 to 5 feet. Sweet peas bloom in spring and cling to fences or other plants by wrapping their tendrils around the support. The fragrance of sweet peas is unmistakable. Intermingle annuals and perennials for season-long bloom. These tall flowers provide a privacy border to the country garden.
Roses are a country garden staple. They're pretty and fragrant. Rose hips, the seed pod of roses, is used to make jelly and is rich in vitamin C. Rose water, a byproduct of making essential rose oil, is used in recipes for its sweetness and scent, according to Janice Cox, author of "Natural Beauty at Home." Create an entryway to your country garden by edging the bed with roses and training climbing roses over an arch at the entrance.
Vegetables and Flowers
Country gardens include vegetables, fruits and flowers and not always in separate beds. Tomatoes add a bit of color to a border when the fruit begins to ripen. Add a border of marigolds for contrast and to keep bugs away. Chard has broad leaves veined in red, white or yellow as well as green. Create a fence by cordoning apple trees. Cordoning is pruning the trees to a single stem and lateral branches. The apple trees can be pruned to as low as 3 feet and still produce a crop.
Don't stop at veggies as the only edible plants. Herbs belong in a country garden, and many herbs, such as dill and fennel, have attractive flowers. Others such as lavender add scent. Rosemary has a pungent scent and taste and light blue small flowers that attract bees.