Friday, July 15, 2011

English Cottage Garden Style for July GBBD

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

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. 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...

2) Plant old-fashioned flowers

Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
The roses are not blooming today, but buds are appearing ready for the second 'flush'.
David Austin Rose Rosa 'Lichfield Angel"
Cleome is an annual that readily reseeds itself - often in unexpected places.
Spider Flower Cleome hasslerana
Shasta Daisy Leucanthemum
Lambs' Ears Stachys byzantina
Phlox Paniculata 'Bright Eyes'
Liatris spicata 'Gayfeather'
Campanula 'Cherry Bells'
Purple Cone Flower Echinacea Purpurea
 2) Add structures such as picket fences and arbors.

The picket fence around the kitchen garden has a wonderful clematis draped over it ...

Clematis Jackmanii 'Tie Dye'
There are arbors at the entrance way to three of my gardens.
Bee Balm Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline'
The arbor you can see on the left in the picture above goes between the pond garden and the shade garden.

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

3) Pots of plants

One of many pots of annuals, below, used to fill a gap in the perennial border.  I will write a post about my numerous planters soon.

Geranium Pelargonium species

4) Informal pathways

This pathway is between a bed of gooseneck loosestrife and the deck which is covered with a clematis and a grape vine.

Gooseneck Loosestrife Lysimachia clethroides

 5) Whimsy to create enchantment

The recently acquired fairy is now holding a basket of snapdragons.

Snapdragon Antirrhinum
I like to hang mirrors on fences ...

Delphiniums and Purple Cone Flowers

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 and perennial geranium, as well as the lavender I showed previously.

In this summer season, one of my joys is the abundance of daylilies in bloom. They do require deadheading every morning, but they are worth it. I use creeping thyme as a ground cover under the daylily below ...

Here are some more of my daylilies ...

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

 I hope  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

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. One day I hope to achieve with what you have done!!!

  2. Hi Pam. I think this may be my favourite post ever, because it finally gives me a good description of English cottage gardening, that I am also trying to create!

    I still have a few things to strive for, I don't really have very many pots in the garden and I don't have any privacy structures (yet). But I have just about everything else.

    I just love your photos today...the liatris is particularily striking. And that mirror is just such a unique touch.

    Have a great weekend, Pam. Happy Gardening.

  3. Pam, how lovely! A cottage garden in its best!

  4. You've created a wonderful example of an English cottage garden, Pam. You have so much interest in your garden too, and some gorgeous plants.

  5. Pam your garden is looking incredible! Your main border is utterly splendid!


  6. Pam your cottage garden is so luscious and full of beauty in all shapes, colors, sizes and no doubt scents.

    Just wonderful and inspiring. I can't grow a lot of what you can up there so I can't have a true cottage garden. I have to work with what I have.

    Happy summer gardening ~ FlowerLady

  7. Hi Pam - Your garden is simply lovely, I love all your blooms. My favourite shots are the clematis on the picket fence.

    But I have to be honest and say I'm a tad depressed right now - 6 years? I've been at it for 10 months and I so so badly want a garden like yours! I know it takes a lot of time and love ... but it does help me to realise why my garden is not as spectacular as yours - its all about having the patience to wait it out.

    Happy GBBD :)

  8. I believe you've reached it, Pam. Encouragement to Christine: the time goes by quickly when gardening.

  9. Wow, mission accomplished! And it's in it's summer prime. Just so pretty and welcoming, with the paths and blooms and picket fences. I liked the cleome image, something I've heard of but haven't grown yet. Thanks for the tour Pam!

  10. You have definitely achieved your goal, Pam. One day I hope my garden looks as lovely as yours.

  11. In a word: "Gorgeous"! Your efforts have paid off in a stunning display. Glad you made it home last night to post.

  12. You're a natural Pam - transplanted perfectly.

  13. I agree with Laura. You are perfect here just like your garden. It is stunning Pam.

  14. Just lovely. I have always loved the look of a cottage garden and am so glad to have visited yours. Your appreciation for gardening shows through your creativity. Happy GBBD!

  15. Pam your Cottage garden is so beautiful.I love the stands of Coneflowers and Shasta Daisies . Your Monarda Jacob Cline is amazing. It looks so pretty with the white fence in the background. That Die Dye clematis is amazing. A wonderful posting.

  16. Pam, I definitely think you have achieved the perfect English cottage garden. It is full of color, lush and thick, and interests the eye. And I love the idea of adding mirrors...just extends the beauty even more. Happy GBBD!

  17. Pam, You have definitely realized your dream; it's beautiful. I love the echinacea-liatris combination, but I was also very partial to those pinks and blues in your second photo. -Jean

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  19. Pam,

    What a wonderful garden you have created! Congratulations on being able to really enjoy it this year. I am feeling rather similar in my own garden this year.

    I think that so much of good gardening comes from being able to have vision for what you would like it to be, even when it is only grass at first. And then there is the muscle and sweat to made it happen!

    You boarder is a glorious vision! Thanks for sharing it!

  20. I love the tie dye clematis on the white picket fence, and the mirrors with the delphinium/echinacea combination. What an inspiration! Echinacea has always been one of my favorites, but I find it hard to keep going in my arid garden. You've convinced me to give it another go. The campanula is beautiful, too. I read the Times article, and love the definition of "planting for abundance in a small space." It's been many years since I've been in a garden in England, but I love what you've created here.

  21. I find no words to tell you how lovely this garden looks. Thanks for the post.

  22. All looks very inviting and beautifully maintained at your place Pam... I've enjoyed my visit this morning! Larry

  23. A beautiful garden - but can I burst your bubble. A true cottage garden would have vegetables mixed in with the flowers wherever there was space. In fact the veg would have been planted first and the flowers added as a fill-in. Perhaps you should call in a contemporary English cottage garden.

  24. Hi Pam,

    I love that phlox. I used to grow a lot of phlox paniculata, but suddenly the slugs got a taste for the young growth...and that was that.
    Incidentally, I'm not sure that Elaine is right. Sure, there will be veg in a cottage garden, but they would be in a separate area well away from the flowers. Mixing produce with flowers in the same space is a modern idea.
    Can you not grow nasturtiums? They seem to be a staple of most cottage gardens

  25. Pam, your beautiful cottage gardens are everything I hope mine to be someday! You are a great inspiration!

  26. Your garden is looking beautiful and so very cottagey. I just love the colour of that Clematis.

  27. Your garden is amazing! I love the lush look of all those perennials blooming together. You have a lot of talent. Thank you for the tour.

  28. great post and thank you for you passion.

  29. I want my garden to look like yours! Thanks for the tour and information about cottage gardens ... Now, if only we had a little more sun :)

  30. Pam, you definitely have a Cottage Garden, it is just breathtaking. I love all the flowers and the way the landscaping flows perfectly through your setting. Your fences and other garden structures add just the right touch of vertical interest and color and privacy. Your garden looks so inviting. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

  31. What a delightful tour! I love the fairy holding the bouquet.

  32. Hi Pam, your garden is amazing! It looks to me as though you more than succeeded in your goal! I especially love that tea cup!

  33. Pam, I was so happy to run into you yesterday. I am planning a trip to visit this wonderful garden very soon. I am so inspired by your gardens. I especially like the addition of an antique mirror. Who would have thought that this would add such a charming focal point? Stay cool! Pat

  34. I would agree you've created a cottage garden and a beautiful one at that. The profusion of flowers in different colours and textures is very enticing.

  35. Dear Pam, your photo's are always lovely , BUT I have to say that these are the best ever. Do you have a new camera ? your garden looks wonderful.
    M x

  36. Oh Pam, I am in love with your beautiful garden! It just showns me how 'mean' I tend to be with my planting...'plant for profusion' is something I shall have to remember!

  37. My goodness, what a beautiful garden. You've done a wonderful job of making it look effortless and natural, and yes, as a gardener in Scotland with a cottage style garden I know very well what an immense amount of work and planning it takes to get that look without it turning to chaos or looking patchy. Your Grandmother would be proud.

  38. I am just awestruck at the creation that is your garden. Such beauty and charm. You truly have achieved a masterpiece. This garden extols every virtue of a true English garden. Well Done....

    So glad to hear your roses are gearing up for a second flush of blooms.

  39. Oh how beautiful. English Garden, even just the word is historically famous, always settings for romantic novels. I wonder if you can create an English garden in a tropical setting! How can it be and English garden if you are using tropical annuals? LOL. By the way, if i am the one who made your garden, i will likely be depressed coming winter when it will be affected by the cold. In the tropics they can grow on and on, till its life cycle is finished.

  40. Bravo! Your garden is stunning...and I can see we are both inspired by the same set of ideals! I'm constantly revising things...hopefully I will be close by my 6th year as well...but it's not looking likely ;-)

  41. Oh I dearly love your cottage garden. So charming, especially the picket fence.

  42. I noticed the tea cup in the pic. I just ordered teacup bird feeders like that and wind chimes for the store. Can't wait to see them!