Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Grafton Cottage, An Iconic English Cottage Garden

Come with me on a walk through a traditional cottage garden in England. I took these photographs last summer when I visited Grafton Cottage. Ethne Clarke could be writing about Grafton when she says,
A cottage garden is above all things a place of uncontrived beauty, easily enjoyed, where labour is well-rewarded and quiet pleasures satisfied.                                    Ethne Clarke, English Country Gardens
Grafton Cottage is owned by Margaret and Peter Hargreaves. I found Peter a charming and welcoming host and Margaret a knowledgeable and passionate plantswoman. I discovered their garden in the National Garden Scheme's The Yellow Book 2014. The National Garden Scheme has been opening gardens to raise money for charity since 1927.  Margaret's and Peter's charity was Alzheimers Research UK, a worthy cause indeed, and I was glad to be in England for one of their openings. This is how the Scheme describes their garden paradise ...

'Step into an English cottage garden and roam around the winding paths clothed with highly scented flowers, old fashioned roses, dianthus, sweet peas, phlox, lilies. The stately delphiniums form a backdrop to the herbaceous borders, over 100 clematis including 30 from the viticella collection. Wander through trellises and amongst campanula, achillea, viola and many more unusual perennials. Textured plants, artemisia, atrepex, heuchera form the basis of colour themed borders. Use of cottage garden annuals add to the tranquility.'

Grafton Cottage
I stepped into their English cottage garden through a white picket gate.

I roamed around winding paths, through rustic arbors, among the wonderful profusion of cottage garden plantings.

The blue delphiniums were particularly striking ...

I was interested in the variety of materials used to make paths: various types of bricks and stone, as well as grass, evident as you scroll through these pictures.

They set up the garage as a pleasant tea room where delicious homemade cream teas were served. Also, there were cottage garden plants for sale. How I wished I could bring some home to America!

Herbaceous border along the side wall of the garage.

A serene place to sit and maybe enjoy a cup of tea.
I love how the Japanese painted fern is tucked into the plantings at the base of the arbor.

Goats beard, delphiniums, roses.
Clematis and perennial geranium

There was a small vegetable plot ...

I loved the natural materials used for plant supports in the kitchen garden.

A water feature along the path to the back door.

There were surprises around every bend, including  a topiary corner ...

... and sedum planted atop a stone wall.                        

On a little brick patio, there was a delightful grouping of colorful annuals.

Grafton Cottage has been featured in Gardens Illustrated, local newspapers and on ITV. But nothing could be better than a visit to the garden in June. I hope you enjoyed the tour.

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. Such beauty! And I love the Clarke quote. It's what I strive for in my own garden. Strive for but am nowhere near achieving yet. Still one must keep trying and your pictures of Grafton Cottage are an inspiration to do so.

  2. I really loved this garden Pam and am so glad you posted it. The home is lovely too. I just wrote a post on garden bloggers not often visiting gardens other than their own and am so pleased you took us on this tour. It is a very inspirational garden with a lot of ideas to consider.

  3. Pam, thank you SO much for showing us this wonderful, cheerful and interesting garden! It is so charming! I'm impressed with the variety of plants! And a hundred clematis plants? Wow!

  4. It's a good thing there's not a commandment that says, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's garden," because I would be deep in sin right now! What a lovely place! You must have been loath to leave such a beautifully wrought garden, with something to look at and catch your interest around every corner. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, especially on such a dreary, cold winter's day!

  5. Grafton Cottage garden, how I enjoyed this post. This is one of those dreamy flowery cottage gardens of England which I love to visit. It´s always nice to visit some private gardens open for the National Garden Scheme, we do that too when we are in England.

  6. What a lovely garden, absolutely sheer beauty. It has that very ‘crammed full look’ that I strive for in my own tiny garden – I love that look, not a scrap of bare soil to see :-)


  7. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!


    Beijos Marie.

  8. What a glorious visit you had! Thanks so much for sharing it; it's just what we need in flower-less mid-winter: a reminder of summer's surfeit of blooms and lush foliage! -Beth

  9. Amazing! That's really beautiful cottage! So colorful with so various flowers.

  10. Totally delightful. How lucky to have such beautiful gardens to visit:)

  11. Holy slugbait, I think that is one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen! English cottage gardens are my favorite type of garden. What an amazing place to visit! I shall be staring at these pictures awhile longer...

  12. It looks fabulous, there's so many wonderful gardens to discover in the yellow book scheme, and they support such worthwhile causes too.

  13. Oh my gosh. That is a beautiful garden and everything I imagine when I think cottage garden.
    I like to think it's a little bedraggled in September, but that's only so I don't give up completely on my own plot. Amazing and thanks for sharing. I'm still inspired yet have to admit to myself that my own garage will never, ever be set up as a tearoom.
    -I couldn't get my Id to come through, so I'm going with anonymous, it's Frank from suburbia :)

  14. Pam, I always say that I like gardens of all styles, but how can you beat the old country cottage garden, Margaret and Peter Hargreaves garden is just beautiful.

  15. What an incredible garden!! That is a garden after my own heart. :o)

  16. Absolutely charming! How lovely to have tea in a garden like this. The Ethne Clark quote is perfect. I pinned a few pictures to my cottage garden board.

  17. (BTW it's a good idea to move your follower widget (friends connect) down to the bottom of your sidebar. All the text below the widget dances up and down, disconcerting to read. Found the solution on Jen's Muddy Boots)

  18. Oh Pam be still my heart...this is how I always envisioned my garden to be....and I still want you to be my tour guide of fab English Gardens.

  19. This is so beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing the photos Pam :)

  20. Marian Wiltshire, EnglandFebruary 17, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    Hi Pam. It's my first visit to your blog. I enjoyed reading about Grafton Cottage and seeing your photos. I live in a small timber-framed cottage in West Wiltshire, not far from the Cotswolds. Having almost finished the inside of the cottage (needed some tlc!) we are next going to try and create a small cottage garden. I've always longed for one, but never got there, so now, retirement imminent, we are finally doing it. Hoping for another lovely summer so we can crack on with the planning,digging and planting. We're also going to have 3 hens, another dream of mine! I wish you well with your garden and shall drop by from time to time to see how you are doing - and let you know our progress, if you would like that! I had to look up the Poconos I'm ashamed to say! What a beautiful place to live! I'm sure your cottage garden will look wonderful. good luck and thanks for the lovely photos.

    1. Welcome, Marian, I hope you stop by frequently, as I would love to follow your gardening progress. Maybe, I can visit your cottage garden one day! P. x