Many flowers have become synonymous with a cottage garden, such as dianthus and coneflowers. But a true cottage garden includes a wide variety of plants, including annuals, perennials, vines, shrubs and even small trees. Cottage gardens are designed so it appears to be a randomly planted garden, when in fact, everything is planted by design. Size and proportion are considered beforehand, with walkways and garden beds designed so that the end result with not only be esthetically pleasing, but balanced and easy to maintain.
Delphinium is regarded as a standard in cottage gardens. This striking perennial is a native plant to regions in Europe. Delphiniums begin blooming in late spring and continue through mid-summer. They can grow between 2 and 6 feet tall, depending on the variety. Delphiniums can be grown for showy backgrounds in mixed flower beds, or along fences. Delphiniums are excellent additions for cut flower arrangements. Delphiniums come in colors of pink, dark blue, light blue, white, purple and even yellow. Delphiniums can be started indoors from seed, or planted from already established nursery stock. Delphinium plants should be planted between 1 and 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Delphiniums seeds should be planted about ¼ deep. Germination typically occurs within three to four weeks. Delphiniums grow best in climates that experience, cool, moist summers. Plant Delphiniums where they will receive full sun, but protection from wind. Provide Delphiniums with a fertile and slightly alkaline soil.
Butterfly bush is also referred to as summer lilac. It’s aptly named butterfly bush because when it blooms, it is known to be highly attractive to butterflies. Butterfly bush is a native plant to China. It typically begins blooming about mid-July and continues until the first frost. Butterfly bush can grow between 3 and 10 feet in height and makes for an attractive accent to cottage gardens as a border shrub or as an ornamental showpiece. Flowers of butterfly bush resemble lilacs in their shape and come in blue, pink, red, violet, yellow, and white colors. According to the National Gardening Association, butterfly bush is low maintenance and easy to care for. Plant butterfly bush in a sunny location; provide it good drainage and loamy, rich soil.
Black Eyed Susan
Rudbeckia fulgida, is more commonly known as coneflower, gloriosa daisy and black-eyed-Susan. Rudbeckia fulgida is a native flowering plant to North America. The variety "Goldsturm" has a long flowering season, which typically begins in mid-summer and will continue until the first hard frost. Rudbeckia fulgida grows between 24 and 36 inches tall and is used as an attractive accent in borders, for mixed flower beds or in meadow gardens. The 2 to 4 inch wide flowers are usually golden yellow in color and have dark-brown to nearly purple colored centers. The stems and leaves of Rudbeckia fulgida are covered in a fine hair. Rudbeckia fulgida can be grown from seeds, or by dividing the roots in the spring. Rudbeckia seeds should be planted uncovered, directly out-of-doors after any chance of frost has passed. Or, started indoors about six to eight weeks before spring. Rudbeckia seeds germinate in about 7 to 14 days. Plant rudbeckia fulgida where they will receive full sun, and provide good drainage and regular watering.