English cottage gardens are one of a kind, quite literally, given that not a single one of them will look like the other. In fact, no cottage garden will look like it did in the previous season either!
It’s this unique nature of these gardens that makes them so appealing and although the very concept of cottage gardening involves little planning and controlling, we will now take a brief look at a few key concepts of planning an English cottage garden that are necessary to keep the whole garden from becoming too messy.
Start Small and Keep the Area of Expansion under Control
Although cottage plants can add more personality to your garden than, it's best to keep the venture restricted to a smaller section of the garden, at least initially.
Later on, as you get a hang of it, feel free to expand a bit, but be careful though. If you do allow your cottage garden to spread too much and give the seeds more area than you should, your garden will cross the threshold of uncontrolled beauty and enter the realm of untended shabbiness!
The Basics of Seed Mix, Lines, and Clumps
It is important to make sure that the seeds you get for the cottage garden are varied enough to prevent a chaotic and indiscernible look when they grow untamed. Consider everything from the size of the leaves and the colour of the ensuing blooms, to the nature (climber, shrubs, etc.) of each species of these seeds before you plant them.
Also, there is no room for straight lines in an English cottage garden, but there is wisdom in going with big clumps of varying seeds to prevent blurriness or that cluttered look when they grow.
Adding Levels: You Need Taller Plants Too
Just like any other section of a good garden, even a cottage garden cannot be isolated to just one level. To prevent that, you will, of course, need to plant a few taller species of plants or even smaller trees to add dimension and levels to your cottage garden. Remember that unlike in traditional gardening, planting them as borders to the back is both unnecessary and unwise.
Lawn Breaks, Paths, and Structures
Whether it’s a stone statue or an obsidian obelisk, reminiscent of the Egyptian days, the idea is to make your shrubs and plants cover them up to a certain extent when they grow and bloom.
As far as paths and lawn breaks are concerned, they are necessary for two purposes mainly. Firstly, lawn breaks are aesthetic and help to keep that dreaded messy look of an English cottage garden done wrong at bay. Secondly, without some paths between them, you will not be able to tend to the cottage plants and the soil later on. Just make sure that the material you use for the path doesn’t contradict your cottage garden’s look. Consider matching them to the carefully placed structures within the garden.
If you can get everything right, then your English cottage garden will blend in beautifully with the whole garden space without losing its personality. It might take a few seasons to perfect your English cottage garden but these planning tips should help you create an oasis.