Gardeners who use native plants are wise to do so, as gardening with native plants helps protect local ecosystems from foreign plants that may escape cultivation and become invasive. Gardeners in Australia who are looking for plants suitable for a cottage garden have a number of charming native species to choose from.
Starflower (Bracteantha bracteata), also called golden everlasting, is a short lived perennial member of the aster/daisy family that hails from Eastern Australia. The plant reaches an average height of three or four feet, producing cheery yellow, lavender, pink or white daisy blooms that have a dry, straw-like texture. The plant exhibits rich blue green foliage. Strawflower is a hardy, low maintenance plant that can be used in a cottage border, window box or annual flower bed. The blooms of the plant dry exceptionally well, and can be used to make quaint dried flower arrangements. Strawflower does best in full sunlight in USDA zones 8 to 11. Plant strawflower in a well draining soil, and water when dry.
Swan River Daisy
Swan river daisy (Genus Brachycome) is a flowering perennial native to the alpines of Australia and New Guinea. The plant is quite small, reaching an average height of between six and 12 inches. Swan river boasts lush green foliage accentuated by small blue, lilac or purple daisy flowers, which appear throughout the summer. Swan river daisy can fulfill many purposes in a cottage garden, and makes a suitable ground cover or hanging container plant. Swan river daisy will grow in full sun or partial shade in USDA zones 9 to 11, and may be grown as an annual in cooler climates. The plant should be grown in a fertile, well draining soil that is kept moist.
Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) is a low growing short lived perennial native to much of the world, including Australia. The plant grows to be no more than a foot tall, and is popular as a bedding, border or cut flower. Forget-me-nots may also be grown outdoors in containers. The plant sports velvety green leaves and tiny blue or white flowers, which begin appearing in spring and continue on into summer. Forget-me-nots are suitable plants in USDA zones 5 to 9, where they are best grown in a moist, slightly shady area. Slugs and snails may become an issue for this plant, so check the leaves occasionally for pests or other problems.