Garden Types

Cottage

Cottage

The style evolved and was refined until the 1870s when, due in part to the emergence of the Arts and Crafts movement, an idealised Chocolate Box version of the cottage garden suddenly became trendy. The vast collection of newly-arrived flowering plants from foreign outposts fed the trend and soon cottage garden genes mutated to the elaborate borders of society's new aristocracy - the city stockbroker.

For over 100 years, these harmonising styles of flower gardens held sway with both the influential and chattering classes. They defined what an English garden was, what it had to be.

Then, in the 1970s, new ways of living in city, urban and suburban situations, greater choice of interesting materials along with exposure to other outdoor lifestyles on TV and through travel, helped to challenge the status quo and the dominance of the flower garden. However, during our recent economic travails, many have found comfort in older garden styles. So, cottage and flower gardens, along with the craft of gardening, has had a resurgence.

The pure cottage garden is an enduring style which has become a world favourite, adapted from place to place. In Ireland, old tractor tyres adorned with paint and planted with begonias can add a different flavour to the style, while similar plots in parts of America will be bordered by white picket fences.

The look is easy to achieve and can be inexpensive to create. The cottage garden style works best when complemented by a sympathetic use of materials - wooden archways, woven willow screens, stone or kiln-fired brick pathways and paving can work well. The flowering plants are often pollen rich, making them attractive to wildlife, and the sheer abundance of plants provides plenty of cover and therefore, great habitats.

Butterflies, bees, bird life and hedgehogs will thrive along with less glamorous creepy crawlies. This combination helps to ensure a healthy eco micro-system, lessening the need for intervention with slug pellets or other chemical warfare.

Date

30 April 2019

Tags

Cottage
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