Elements of a cottage garden
How to create this classic country-style look. By Stephanie Donaldson
How to create the quintessential cottage garden full of old-fashioned flowers, lavender-lined paths and fruit trees. This planting harks back to a time when gardens weren't planned, they grew. It's about abundance and informality, at its best when allowed to develop gradually.
Like every garden, this style has three main elements - vertical, horizontal and planting. It is how you marry these together that creates the distinctive cottage-garden look. In this case, the verticals are the walls of the house, the greenhouses and sheds, and the plant supports and fences. These must be clothed with an abundant mix of climbing plants to create the right mood. The horizontals include the paths and edgings, planters - and water. They enclose, contain and anchor the planting while the water, vital for plants and wildlife, is present in water butts, ponds and pools. The planting must include a profusion of climbers and ramblers, perennials, edibles and annuals allowed to self-seed wherever they like.