Wednesday, July 13, 2016

English Cottage Garden Style for July GBBD - Five Years Later


An English Cottage Garden Is ...

“... above all things a place of uncontrived beauty, 
easily enjoyed, where labour is well rewarded 
and quiet pleasures satisfied.”

Ethne Clarke and Clay Perry
 English Country Gardens

It's almost eleven years since I began to realize my dream of creating an Engish cottage garden in the Poconos. On Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, July 2011 I wrote, "One of the elements of English cottage-garden style is a profusion of flowers in a variety of colors and textures. The overall effect appears 'uncontrived,' but in reality a great deal of thought goes into the choice and placement of plants. My garden has been six years in the making, and this year (for the first time) I feel I have achieved the effect I have been striving to create." I am redoing the 2011 posting with updated pictures to see how the dream continues. I note where I'm using the original photographs of those flowers still strutting their stuff. The words in bold/italics are from the original posting. It is quite difficult to define English cottage-garden style without going into its history, but some other elements include planting old-fashioned flowers, adding structures to create 'privacy,' using lots of pots of plants, making informal pathways, and using 'whimsy' to give a sense of enchantment. I went outside with my camera this morning to record what is blooming on this  Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day July 2011 and that's when it struck me that at last I have an English cottage garden. Please take a walk with me to see if those elements are really present ...

1) Plant for profusion

This is my biggest herbaceous border, filled with purple cone flower, liatris, gooseneck loosestrife, shasta dasies, and daylilies - to name a few of the perennials. More recently I removed the liatris to the entrance garden (first picture) and planted bee balm in the main border (below) ...



As soon as you enter our driveway you can see from the butterfly garden by the house-number sign that I plant for profusion. H.H. put a birdhouse on the back of the post that displays the house number.

Purple cone flower, milkweed, cleome, liatris and white phlox

2) Plant old-fashioned flowers

David Austin Rose Rosa 'Lichfield Angel"
Left to right: Goats Beard, Cleome, Yarrow 'The Pearl', delphinium, purple cone flower
Shasta Daisy Leucanthemum (photo 2011)
Lambs' Ears Stachys byzantina (photo 2011)
Phlox Paniculata 'Bright Eyes' (photo 2011)
Veronica -- I forget which one -- added last year
Campanula 'Cherry Bells'
I planted hollyhocks since the original posting

Hollyhocks are a 'must have' for an English cottage garden, so I am making them my July pick for 'Dozen for Diana.' Visit Diana's blog at Elephant's Eye on False Bay in South Africa and join in the fun.

2) Add structures such as picket fences and arbors.

The arbor into the kitchen garden has two wonderful clematis draped over it ...


Clematis Jackmanii 'Tie Dye'

The cedar fence at the back of the shade garden provides privacy and adds a vertical element to the space.

Climbing hydrangea grows over the fence and mock hydrangea over the swing

3) Pots of plants

One of many pots of annuals ...



The unusual red flower with the pointed petals is a petunia that I grew from seeds that Nancy Ondra sent me. Nancy blogs at Hayefield.

Petunia exserta, marigold and bacoba in a tub in front of the hydrangea

I display several hanging baskets. This one H.H. bid for and won at a silent auction when we were at the Pocono Garden Club Flower Show where I was guest speaker.




4) Informal pathways

The destination at the end of this pathway is a grouping of planters and an ivy in a birdcage. You will find a birdcage containing ivy in many English cottage gardens.


 5) Whimsy to create enchantment

I like to hang mirrors on fences ...


In the last five years I've added several fairy gardens. My latest whimsical creation is a simple basket on a gate containing a cute unicorn and fairy that H.H. found at the thrift store.

Miniature hosta, sedum and fairy on moss

In the collage below, some other flowers blooming in my garden on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day are (clockwise from top right) milkweed, hydrangea, coreopsis, perennial geranium, and lavender.

Photographs 2011 - similar blooms today

Here are some of the daylilies blooming today ...


The pond is looking quite lovely surrounded by cottage garden flowers ...


Looking across the main border to the pond and the rose garden.

I hope this combination of two postings isn't too confusing.  Go to the original post by clicking here and compare the pictures today with those five years ago. Do you agree my dreams of creating an English cottage garden in Pennsylvania have been realized?


Thank you, Carol, for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on your wonderful blog. On the 15th of each month, I look forward to visiting May Dreams Gardens to see what is blooming around the world.

Happy GBBD, everyone!

Pamela x



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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!





Wishing you a Happy July Fourth holiday from my red, white and blue garden: red Rose Rosa 'Double Knockout,' red Bee Balm Monarda 'Jacob Cline,' blue Larkspur Delphinium 'Bellamosum,' and white Yarrow Achillea 'The Pearl.'

This brief communication promises a longer posting very soon.  I recently returned from the Pennsylvania Master Gardeners' Conference that included visits to some incredible gardens in the Brandywine Valley area: Jenkins Arboretum, Scott Arboretum of Strathmore University, Chanticleer, Longwood Gardens, Meadowbrook Farm and Morris Arboretum. Lots of material for postings. I am busy, however, preparing for some speaking engagements and for some tours of my garden. I'll write as soon as I can.

Happy Fourth, dear gardening friends.

Pamela x

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, June 15, 2016


 When H.H. realized today is the 15th of the month he asked, "Isn't this the day you show your bloomers?" He remembered correctly that it's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day when bloggers all over the world join our lovely host, Carol, at May Dreams Gardens to show what is blooming in their gardens.  I grabbed my (broken) camera and headed outside on this perfect June day. Carol begins her Bloom Day post with a very unusual clematis. I've started with a more ordinary type, I forget the name, the first of my many clematis to have flowers this season. Take a walk with me and I'll show you more of my bloomers especially the roses that take center stage in my June garden ...

Pink Doube Knockout rose next to David Austin 'Lichfield Angel'




There is a peach miniature rose and a white one between the pink and the red peonies

The rose that the David Austin representative promised me at the Garden Writers' Association conference last year, arrived in early spring. I planted it in part shade as he suggested and it seems very happy in its new home in the Horseshoe Garden. It's first bloom made its appearance to a round of applause. It is a beauty with a very pretty scent.

David Austin rose 'Olivia'

The red double Knockout is 'blooming away' in Strawberry Fields.

A view of the cottage garden shows the peonies are still holding their own, the yarrow has its golden flowers and the allium has taken on its interesting 'big ball of seeds' appearance.

The shrub behind the yarrow is spirea, soon to bloom

The soft, silver foliage of Lamb's Ears has appeared in yet another part of the garden. I let the 'straggly looking' flowers open because the bees love them, then I cut the plant down to make a velvety ground cover. Lamb's Ear remains a favorite of my grandsons.

Lamb's Ears, Stachys byzantina

Sweet William was one of my Mother's favorite flowers so I am fond of this colorful plant. It is short lived and biannual, so I'm never sure what I will get. It is particularly lovely this year, appropriately blooming the week my Mom would have turned 97 years. Happy-birthday thoughts of my Mother on the 17th of June.

Sweet William Dianthus barbatus

In the shade garden a surprise -- the climbing hydrangea has a couple of blooms for the first time. I planted it some ten years ago and had given up hope as it doesn't get much needed sunlight to flower.

Climbing hydrangea Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

The window boxes along the tractor shed are blooming prettily with two types of petunia, purple fountain grass and trailing, white bacopa. The clock is new -- a Christmas gift from my daughter and son-in-law. She sent to England for this replica of one on Paddington Station. It usefully shows the time on both sides. The road sign was a gift from H.H.'s stepmother. Both very appropriate for an 'English' cottage garden don't you think?


When you look at the clock you can see it is still quite early. As the sun rises it gives the plumes of the Goat's Beard plant a golden glow.

Goatsbeard Arucus dioicus

The kitchen garden is at a bit of a standstill with several rather cold nights, but with warmer weather and more sunshine forecast, I expect everything will soon catch up. The garden is very dry and I have been hand watering every morning. The water in each rain barrel is getting low.


Lots of lettuce, spinach and Swiss charge in the herb garden on the patio.


Last GBBD I took a picture from the den window. I decided to do this each month to note the changes. I'll call it 'Monthly View' and put the previous month's picture in the side bar to make a comparison easy. June's picture shows the patio is all set up ready for summer entertaining. We've already given a couple of our 'breakfast in the garden' events. I planted canna lilies in the big patio pots on the suggestion of my friend Katharine. They should grow tall and maybe offer some privacy. You can see the grass beside the pond is filling out. And of course the roses are in bloom.


 Now it is time to feed the animals. Dude and Billy are so patient.

Dude and Billy patiently wait for their breakfast.

I hope you've enjoyed this stroll around my garden. Do go over to May Dreams Gardens and check out what's blooming around the world.

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!
Pamela x





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