Cottage gardens are informally designed spaces, created to invoke a feeling of romance and charm. Masses of flowers abound--the more, the better--in a rainbow of colors and a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Scented flowers are an important part of a cottage garden, as are climbing vines and flowers that attract butterflies and birds.
Roses are a mainstay in any cottage garden. These beautiful, scented flowers are often the backbone and focal point of these romantic gardens. Choose hardy, old-fashioned shrubs, such as Rosa 'Braveheart,' which features deep, red blooms that flower all summer. Add climbing roses. Train them over a rustic trellis or arbor for long-lasting beauty and a wonderful fragrance. Try Rosa 'Awakening,' an old-fashioned, silvery-pink ruffled climbing rose that blooms continually.
There are many varieties of clematis. Some bloom only in the spring. Others bloom twice--once in the spring, and once again in late summer. These climbing vines feature large, brilliant blooms in many different colors, from white to purple and even yellow. The most popular, however, are those that add a deep blue color to the garden. The 'Blue Ravine' variety features light-blue flowers that can be as large as 10 inches in diameter.
Daisies are a classic in most cottage gardens. These hardy, profusely-blooming plants come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Gerbera daisies are loved for their bright, candy-colored flowers. These flowers are perfect for the dry corners of your cottage garden, as they can thrive even in hot, dry conditions.
A cottage garden is not complete without masses of tall, flowering perennials. The bellflower, which can grow up to 3 feet tall, produces stalks lined with blue or white flowers that are also useful as cut flowers. Columbine, with its distinctive, star-shaped, tubular blooms, attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Coralbells, which features tiny pink flowers, are another favorite with hummingbirds, and their delicate, romantic appearance is perfect for the cottage garden. Hollyhocks are perhaps the most easily recognizable perennial in a cottage garden. These flowers grow up to 8 feet tall and come in a wide range of colors.
Annuals and Biennials
Annuals should be added to a cottage garden to fill in any empty spaces. Cottage gardens are known for their dense, even crowded look. Annuals can be planted in containers or directly in the ground. Dame's rocket is an excellent annual for shady areas. This fragrant flower produces pink or white blossoms and will grow up to 4 feet tall. Cosmos and zinnia are also annuals suitable for a cottage garden. Foxglove, actually a biennial, produces tall spires of bell-shaped flowers and can reseed itself very easily. Pansies are a low-growing biennial that would also be welcome in a cottage garden.