If a trip to the England isn't in your future, bring some of the English countryside home to your garden, says University of Vermont Extension's Leonard Perry. Plant a variety of English flowers chosen to bloom in succession. Use a limited palette of complementary and contrasting colors and plants of different heights, forms and textures. The result will be a traditional cottage garden as authentic as any in England.
Cheddar pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus), a 6- to-12-inch high, mat-forming perennial, brings early spring to mid-summer color to English gardens. Beginning in May, its mounding, grasslike greenish-gray foliage and fragrant pink flowers fill the Somerset County countryside, especially around Cheddar Gorge. The "Grandiflora" cheddar pink cultivar has 1 1/2-inch, rose-pink flowers. Removing its spent spring blooms may result in a second flush of flowers later in summer.
Use cheddar pinks in rock gardens, as border edgings or as ground covers on rocky slopes. Largely insect and disease free, it suffers crown rot in poorly drained locations. Plant it in full sun and slightly alkaline--pH above 7.2--averagely moist soil, advises the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata), the floral emblem of tiny Rutland County, is an 18- to-24-inch tall perennial that grows in USDA zones 4 through 8. It has upright, branching stems above a base of oval, toothed green leaves. From late spring to early summer, the "Alba" cultivar has rounded, large stem-topping clusters of white, bell-shaped blooms. Smaller clusters appear where upper leaves and stems join. Plant this bellflower in full sun or--where summers are hot--partial shade. Provide consistently, well-drained soil. Removing dead flowers will extend blooming, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
England's southeastern county of Kent is "The Garden of England," and the common hop (Humulus lupulus) is the floral emblem of Kent. This flowering hemp family vine, which grows in USDA zones 3 to 8, can grow up to 25 feet between early spring and mid-summer. The "Aureus" hops cultivar has toothed, lobed lime-green spring leaves that gradually darken as summer approaches. In September and October, "Aureus" produces conical spikes of green, pine-scented blooms. Butterflies flock to them. Dried hops flowers are a staple ingredient for beer flavoring and preserving. Use "Aureus" as an ornamental or screening vine on trellises and structures, recommends the Missouri Botanical Garden. Give it full sun to partial shade and fertile, moist well-drained soil.