I am a huge fan of English cottage gardens. The more flowers the better, I always say, and this style is chockablock with flowers. Here are a few of my favourites.
So many people dig out the old lilacs in their yard and I do not understand it. They smell great and they stay green until they lose their leaves in the fall. What more do you people want?!
If your lilac has grown huge and scraggly and isn’t flowering like it used to, give ‘er the chop! You can take that old bird down to 1/3 of the size and she will grow back!
Plants are crazy like that.
They are blue. That’s all you need to know. Although they do come in pink, purple and white, delphiniums make my list because they come in true blue which is pretty uncommon in flowers. Not only are they blue, but they are huge and blue. Delphiniums can get up to 8′ tall and they spread out nice and big too.
What could be better than a loud and proud blue flower towering over anyone that dares set foot in your yard?
The heart stopper. Or is it a starter? Foxglove or Digitalis purpurea, as it’s known in pharmaceutical circles, is used to treat congestive heart failure. Don’t go eating any though, it can kill you. Stay away from this poison, please.
Foxglove is a biennial, which means it grows in one season and flowers, sets seed and dies in the next. I started foxglove from seed this year but I also bought 1-year-old plants so that I can have flowers now.
They have the coolest bell-shaped flowers and hummingbirds and bees love them.
Omg columbines are ahmazing. They come in so many cool varieties and I want them all! The classic purple and white looks lovely in any shady garden but feel free to get all dramatic with the pink or purple double winkies.
They can take a long time to germinate so I highly recommend winter sowing the seeds because then your impatience for them will be stretched out over winter with everything else.
2. Peony Poppies
I love peonies and I love poppies, but peony poppies beat them both. I like to sprinkle their tiny seeds all throughout the garden in the fall, for next summer’s blooms. You can collect poppy seeds once you can hear them rattling around in the dried head.
They grow to about 30″ and come in various shades of pink, purple and red.
1. Sweet Peas
I fucking love sweet peas. I love them so much that I planted 120 seeds this year. It is my favourite smell. I have a bottle of sweet pea fragrance oil leftover from my soap biz, that I keep for sniffing in the offseason.
Sweet peas are the ornamental pea, not the edible peas that you eat before you can manage to get them into the house. Lathyrus odoratus is beautiful but poisonous, so don’t be picking their pods for your salad.
They grow on vines that can reach up to 8′ tall and the flowers come in pretty much every colour. For the best fragrance, seek old fashioned varieties. No cottage garden is complete without them.
That’s my list. There are plenty more flowers that I love and need in my garden but these are the best. What are your favourite cottage garden flowers? Let us know in the comments.