I often post about cottage garden plants, more rarely about the homes themselves. These beautiful thatched cottages (neighbours of Hidcote Manor Gardens) show the love owners of traditional homes often have for climbing and rambling roses.
I’m not sure if the rotunda at Rousham Gardens (below) qualifies as a cottage or a folly – I’d guess it’s been put to good use down the centuries.
The roses, red centranthus and slender foxgloves swaying in the summer breeze provided a wonderful context during our recent visit. The famous old dahlia border was just leafing out. It will come into its own – and start to steal the show – later in the season.
I love the effect of the mingled geraniums, Canterbury bells and daisies, their faces lifted to catch the sunshine, so these pretty traditional stone cottages are just an architectural bonus! I’m also sharing a direct view of the same garden so you can get a better idea of the layout. A well stocked garden like this has a kind of rolling peak as spring flowers give way to summer ones, then to autumn.
It reminds me how English gardeners embrace once flowering plants. We don’t expect too much of our garden companions, mixing shrubs, annuals and perennials to create a delicious whole, like a one pot casserole of many different ingredients. We stuff plants in, then trust the eye will seek out and celebrate each season’s floral highlights, overlooking any green ‘spaces’.
This more relaxed, realistic attitude helps make each season special. We’re set free to enjoy a wider selection of plants, including supporting actors as well as lead players.
So I always give a small sigh when asked ‘does it flower all year round?’. I’d be happier to hear ‘will it knock my socks off when it flowers?’ or ‘will it help me create a beautiful tapestry of colour and form in my garden?’.
I’d love to hear your view – are you forgiving or demanding when it comes to flowering plants? Please don’t think you have to have a garden to express your view – let me know what you most enjoy seeing.