In a Vase on Monday

Rosa Harlow Carr flower posy

I picked this small posy of flowers from Mum’s garden. She grows plants on heavy clay soil she’s worked hard to amend over the years. Her garden, shaded for part of the day, supports a selection of fruit, roses and other cottage garden flowers.

I overstuffed a tiny milk jug with flowers of the right scale to fit: ‘Harlow Carr’ roses, a sprig or two of lavender, two forms of geranium, bellis, viola and some campanula. I’ll never make a florist, but  it looked (and smelled) sweet. I only needed to raid the back garden, leaving the fine foliage plants and shrubs at the front for another day.

As so often in a private garden, there’s a little story behind each plant. Some arrived as presents from family or friends: others were grown from seed or acquired on a trip to her favourite garden centre, BentsContinue reading

Classic cottage garden flowers

Delphiniums

It’s been a real treat for us to spend time with friends visiting some of our favourite English gardens, including Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate Court, Rousham House, Powis Castle and Wollerton Old Hall. I’ll be sorting through pictures for a few more days yet, but wanted to share a glimpse of some classic cottage garden plants that seemed to be enjoying the sunshine: roses, delphiniums, clematis, verbascums and foxgloves.

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Recipe for a Traditional English Cottage Garden

Described by the British Cottage Garden Society as an informal, abundant, diverse planting, this well-loved gardening style is always in fashion with ’real’ gardeners. If you’d like to create a cottage garden at home, follow this recipe. Add an extra dimension by including as many highly fragrant cultivars as you can from the plant lists below. Your challenge (should you choose to accept it) is to have no soil visible from year three onwards. Simple!

Essentials
  • Patch of earth (ideally cultivated and enriched for hundred years, though it’s never too late to start)
  • Some form of enclosure: hedge, stone walls, wooden fence
  • Path, winding
  • Garden gate

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