How to Grow your Cottage Garden

How to Grow your Cottage Garden

The great thing about cottage gardens is that there are no rules. Just grow what you love to create a garden that’s uniquely yours. The planting style is relaxed, creating a tapestry of colour year after year from flowering and foliage plants, including annuals and cut flowers. Pollinating insects love them too, making it a wildlife friendly haven. Today, The Lady shares 6 top tips from Dobbies Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, who explains how to grow your cottage garden… 

Shopping List 

  • Your choice of cottage garden plants 
  • Garden spade 
  • Manure 
  • General fertiliser such as Growmore 
  • Bamboo canes and garden twine or metal plant supports 
  • Secateurs 

Step by Step Guide 

  1. First prepare the soil for planting by forking in plenty of manure or garden compost and remove any weeds. 
  2. Choose your favourite cottage garden plants, mixing heights, colours, textures and flowering times. A mixture of flowering and foliage plants works well, including annuals and cut flowers. 
  3. Position in drifts for a natural look, planting shorter ones towards the front and taller ones behind. Self-seeding plants such as foxgloves and verbenas are a great way to knit the border together. 
  4. Using a garden spade, plant each to the same depth as its growing pot. Firm gently and water well, then add a layer of mulch around your plants to help retain moisture. 
  5. As they grow, insert canes or metal plant supports around taller flowering plants to keep them secure in strong winds. Put them in early in the season and they’ll soon be disguised by foliage. 
  6. Cut back faded stems in autumn. Then in spring, fork in some general fertiliser and add a fresh layer of mulch. 

Marcus’s top tip: Leave grasses and those with seed heads uncut to help support wildlife. 

Know Your Cottage Garden Plants 

Foxgloves: With their spires of bell-shaped flowers much loved by bees, foxgloves are a cottage garden favourite. Available in creams, pinks and lavenders, they help brighten shady spots and are great planted with Hostas and Ferns.

Delphiniums: Another cottage garden favourite, Delphiniums come in stunning shades of white, pink and blue. They will often flower for a second time later in the season. Grow through plant supports to hold their flower spikes secure.

Hostas: One of the best foliage cottage garden plants, available in many leaf shapes, sizes and colours. Easy to grow, these long-lasting plants work well in damp or shady borders and also look great as a feature plant in a pot.

Dobbies Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles said –  

“Whether you have a flower beds and borders to fill, a patio to update with containers or a front garden to refresh, this timeless look will add beautiful colour to enjoy year after year. A classic cottage garden is filled with pastel shades, Roses, Foxgloves and Delphiniums to name a few. Loved by bees and butterflies, your garden will be brought to life with the gentle sound of buzzing and humming – a joyous backdrop to soak up summer sunshine in.” 

If you prefer leaving your garden in the hands of professionals, our specialist recruitment team will find you the perfect candidate; from Housekeepers to Gardeners, Nannies to Carers, we source only the most exceptional candidates for your home. Contact our friendly team today: