During my morning lockdown exercise around the estate I have been impressed with the tidy regimented front gardens, manicured lawns and not a weed in sight.
I am not going to attempt to copy you but to tempt you to cottage style gardening.
A definition of A COTTAGE GARDEN.in the dictionary...is an informal style of garden which has beds planted with a great variety of traditional flowers.
The best cottage gardens look like they planted themselves..this is a myth..but the design principles they follow are simple.
The English invented the cottage garden probably in about 1400 when even the humblest of plots were pressed into service to produce food for families. Every inch of earth counted - with herbs, fruit trees, vegetables and flowers..which attracted bees to pollinate crops..jammed close together...no room for weeds!!
Aside from being practical the effect was charming..some might say..organised chaos.
Today, modern cottage gardens look just as lovely-a spill of colour as edible plants mingle and flop over the edge of paths, roses clamber over trellis, hollyhocks lean against brick walls.. a romantic scene.
Gertrude Jekyll 1843 - 1932 is the patron saint of modern cottage gardens.
She advocated a more natural look to the fussy formal plantings the Victorians liked. A book worth reading..GERTRUDE JEKYLL AND THE COUNTRY HOUSE GARDEN..
Some ideas to help plan a cottage garden.
- BREACH BOUNDARIES Plant flowers at the edge of garden beds and allow them to spill over onto paths and lawns.Bonus points for fragrant flowers that brush against ankles as you walk past.
- Install sturdy arbors, pergolas and trellises so that vines, climbers and fragrant roses can grow into billowy shapes above doors, gates and against walls.
- Place benches and chairs strategically in the garden to lure visitors to spend time sitting among the bees and blossom. Put seats in a hidden shady corner or smack in the middle of a pretty flower bed. Add stepping stones to guide the way.
- Common cottage garden flowers include as examples holly \.02hocks, foxgloves, nicotiana, poppy, nasturtium and cosmos.
- Plant shrubs, small trees, obelisks covered in climbing vegetables among the flowers to add height, structure and visual interest to garden beds
- Lure pollinators and birds planting of lavenders, yarrow, black-eyed Susan's and asters...Bees will love them.
- Lay out irregular shaped garden beds and allow paths to define spaces in the garden. A meandering walkway is better than a straight one. Turn a corner, slow down and find a secret garden.
- Experiment with plants you love and reinvent the cottage garden to fit your busy lifestyle. Once established a cottage garden will be as weed free as the gardens I pass on my lockdown walk.
So whether your patch of heaven flourishes on 10 sun-drenched acres or on a 5 x 6 sturdy apartment balcony, with the miracle of soil, sunshine, and water, you can still relax in an enchanted cottage-style green space.
Whatever style of garden you like...keep gardening and ENJOY!!!