Retreat to the Country - Cottage Gardening - Squire's Garden Centres

Retreat to the Country – Cottage Gardening

Give your patio or outside space a gorgeous cottage garden feel with these planting tips.

For people who love plants, the ‘cottage garden look’ will always be in vogue, whatever the age or style of the property you live in. This perennially popular planting style is the perfect choice for character homes and rural gardens. It can also be an attractive way to soften the appearance of an urban home. And if you dream of living in the country, but currently work in town, a cottage garden combines the best of both worlds.

How to get the look

Traditionally, cottage gardens were practical and ornamental at the same time, mixing edible fruit and veg with fragrant shrubs, climbers and perennials, in a tumble of seasonal colour. Summer-flowering lavender, iris, dianthus, delphinium and lupins would jostle for space alongside seasonal veg and fruit trees – crab apple and medlar were popular for jellies and jams. Pretty annuals, such as cornflowers, marigolds and sweet peas, would be sown in gaps around the edges, producing seasonal flowers for picking and sharing.

Give it a modern twist

Today’s cottage garden follows exactly the same principles, with colourful salad veg replacing traditional cauliflowers and cabbages, and the addition of soft grasses for a more contemporary version. The effect can be created within a single border, a group of patio pots, or even on a balcony, because the best thing about cottage garden style is that there are no rules. Start with our favourite cottage garden classics, pictured, then customise the look to suit your own space, and enjoy the show all summer.

Delphinium ‘Turkish Delight’

Tall blooms in pale lilac-pink make this an elegant back-of-border plant.

Height: 1.6m
Blooms in: July-Aug

Patio Peony ‘London’

Beautiful double flowers make this naturally compact peony ideal for borders and pots.

Height: 60cm

Blooms in: June-July

Magnolia wilsonii ‘Eileen Baines’

Huge, sumptuous flowers won this scented magnolia a silver medal at the 2021 New Plant Awards.

Height: 4-6m
Blooms in: April-May

Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’

Lavender is a classic cottage garden plant, perfect for the border edge.

Height: 50cm

Blooms in: June-Sept

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West Country lupins

Plant some of these stunning lupins for a riot of colour in a sunny border.

Height: 75cm-1m
Blooms in: June-July

Salvia Colour Spires ‘Azure Snow’

Aromatic foliage and pretty bi-coloured flowers appeal to pollinating insects.

Height: 45-50cm

Blooms in: June-Sept

Dianthus ‘Memories’

Plant these sweet little flowers where you can savour the spicy scent.

Height: 30cm

Blooms in: June-Sept

Dianthus ‘Tickled Pink’

More compact than usual, this dainty dianthus has an intense clove-like fragrance.

Height: 30cm

Blooms in: June-Sept


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