Creating a Rustic Cottage Garden
Returning to the roots. Simply using what's just there to create a special flowered power space with the tried and true.
What began as a space for raised beds, developed into a cottage garden. The blank boards of the raised beds needed softening. Prolific plants that had elbowed there way in other more formal beds were the right candidates. As always these were indeed those flowers that were tough in a tough climate (I garden here in Austria at 500m above sea level). The flowers known well to farmer's wives with little-time-on-their-hands, but a hankering for colour after a long European winter .
Framing the rustic cottage garden was helped by building in as the focal point an age old yew. The weaving deftness of a friend gave the rustic touch. Woven fences and rustic gates however charming, need renewal every 3 -4 years. Their slow decay adding in the meantime to the charm of the place (or so I explain this to myself).
Mallows, verbascums, hollyhocks, rudbeckia, ligularia plants that once in the ground quietly comeback year after year, sturdier, in bigger groups, provided one keeps the weeds from their throats. I have made some accidental surprise additions...and quite by accident. Crocoscima 'Lucifer' puts on a splendid show. I had noticed for some years a cottage path lined with these fiery beauties and ordered (isn't it the way) far too many corms. They too were parked in the cottage garden, en masse. I was in a hurry and out of inspiration.
My focus is now the easier-to-care-for garden. I am learning from my cottage garden plant ensemble. Gravel paths...now in lawn. Edging with Alchemila mollis keep a frilly tidiness. Roses that ramble (our of deer harm's way), and a reliance on those hands-off staples, free from disease. Lemon Balm and mint (though mint is try the garden bully) close to the lawn makes mowing an olfactory delight. Daffodil bulbs (tulips tend to disappear after a season) for spring interest. And a few essential bushes to frame like Budbleia, mine simply staked its spot uninvited itself!