Weather in Portland has been just plain uncooperative this past week.
Too much cold, too much rain.
The flowers are confused and only partially opening, and today I discovered a Delphinium which had been carelessly trampled on by a neighbourhood pet (or meter reader-- one can never be too sure). No, this week has been no good at all.
As a result, the Tiny Green Cottage has a lack of new content to share for the day. In cases such as this, I consult the piles of magazines I've held onto throughout the years for either their informative editorials or inspiring photos.
Today's post is gleaned from a back issue of Better Homes and Gardens, which included helpful information on planning your own Cottage Garden. The photos are gorgeous, and the advice is sound. I hope you enjoy!
-Tiny Green Cottager
Cottage gardens don’t look designed. In fact, they’re usually exuberant, free-flowering, and sometimes even unrestrained. To get the informal look, avoid planting in straight lines or defined patterns. Let plants cascade over paths and weave through each other. It adds to their charm. And grow self-seeding plants that pop up in unexpected places.
Grow Old-Fashioned Flowers
Cottage gardens aren’t about new varieties. They’re usually filled with the same traditional favorites your grandmother would have grown. Some popular examples include peony, cosmos, foxglove, snapdragon, pansy, bachelor’s button, columbine, bleeding heart, and hollyhock.
Select Homey Furniture
Make your cottage garden into an outdoor living space by adding comfy furniture. Avoid anything contemporary. Instead look for Adirondack, wicker, or painted metal shellback chairs. The furniture doesn’t have to match: Part of the charm is how informal it is. An eclectic mix fits right in.
Look for Soft, Romantic Plants
Most cottage gardens have a romantic feel. Part of that feel comes from the flowers. Look for blooms in soft pastel shades. Also look for plants packed with petals, such as peonies and old roses. As an added bonus, many of these varieties are also wonderfully fragrant.
Look for Materials with Character
Cottage gardens often include structures made from natural or well-worn materials. Weathered wood fences, arbors, and gates are right at home among a collection of cottage plants.
Using Curving PathwaysCreate soft meandering pathways instead of those that follow a straight, structured line. Many paving materials work in cottage gardens, including wood chips, stone, old bricks, and flagstone.
Choose Vintage AccessoriesAccessorize your cottage garden with antique or vintage items. You’re more likely to find garage-sale bargains than high-ticket purchases in a cottage garden. An old, dented watering can or a gate with peeling paint can work nicely.
Employ the UnexpectedDon’t be afraid to find creative uses for old items. For example, an old chicken feeder might become a fun planter, or a rusty trowel could be a great gate handle.
Fit in a White-Picket FenceThough not every cottage garden has a white-picket fence, the two do seem to go hand-in-hand. You don’t have to use the fence to create a boundary. A short section simply could hold up favorite floppy perennials.
Do What You Love
While all these elements are commonly found in a cottage garden, the biggest rule is that you create a look you love. Don’t get caught up in trying to follow “the rules.” Plant what you like and how you like it for a delightful cottage garden to suit you.
-Better Homes & Gardens