Monday, September 17, 2012

A Cottage Garden Tour and Gardening Tips

I was inspired by some cottage gardens I saw at, and wanted to share a few of my favorite images (all photos shown are from the Southern Living website). So I thought I'd put together this little "garden tour" to inspire you, too! This first photo is of a beautiful backyard cottage garden–I'm sure this shady area is a welcome retreat on warm summer days!

Here's another view of the same lush and green! What a great idea to hang window boxes over the entrance of this barn. You could do the same on your shed or other outdoor storage building.

This garden also has a variety of colorful foliage in some of the borders. This particular border has "Rose Glow" Japanese barberry in the foreground which brings out the color of the Japanese maple further back.

Another bed in the same garden has a different, more layered look. Using a variety of plants adds interest and contrast–include big-leaved and small-leaved plants, and plants that vary in size and color. Accent plants with pots, urns, or other accessories to fill in empty spots and add height to the gardenscape.

At another cottage home, a white picket fence adds a welcoming touch to the beautiful landscaping in the front yard. I love the stone walkway and steps, too!

This cottage garden is reminiscent of the original English cottage gardens that were informal and functional, with plants that yielded food and herbs for the family. These full, lush gardens became more ornamental through the years as families bought more and more of their food from local markets.

The charming garden at this Tudor-style cottage is densely planted with a variety of flowers, herbs, shrubs, fruit, and vines. The original yard had a traditional lawn and was transformed into a cottage garden over a 15-year period–all that hard work paid off beautifully!

Southern Living also came up with this handy garden plan to help you get the "Cottage Look" in your own yard...

Here are some of their tips and a few of my own:

1. To capture the casual feel of a true cottage garden, use a variety of plants and include a variety of colors and sizes.

2. Use materials and accent pieces that are traditional and timeless. Use elements of nature and interesting rustic objects when you can...stones and rocks for bordering beds; old weathered chairs for displaying potted flowers; vintage wagons, buckets, or watering cans for a unique touch to your beds.

3. Use dense plantings to maximize space and create and beautiful, lush gardenscape.

4. Mix ornamental and edible plants (like roses and cabbages, or flowering bushes paired with herbs) for a classic look.

5. Add a touch of charm to your cottage garden with white picket or ornamental metal fences. Hedges are also nice. These help keep your pets or other animals out of the garden beds, too.

Do you have a cottage garden? What are some of your favorite plants?

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