How to Create Beautiful Aromatic Cottage Garden?

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How to Create Beautiful Aromatic Cottage Garden?

How to Create an Aromatic Cottage Garden

As I continue my journey of establishing an aromatherapy teaching garden of aromatic plants, I found myself considering the style of my garden. For me, there simply was no doubt; a traditional English country cottage garden! However, how do you create an aromatic cottage garden in the high Arizona desert? If you have been following my series of aromatic garden articles, you will probably enjoy this article which discusses the basics of designing an aromatic cottage garden. Over the coming months, I will also share the successes (and failures) of how I achieved an aromatic cottage garden here in Arizona!

What is an Aromatic Cottage Garden?

A traditional cottage garden breaks all the rules of garden design in that it creates the illusion that there isn’t any design; flowers are planted together in such a haphazard way that they look like they are naturally wild and unattended (a good excuse not to pull the odd flowering weed!). This is a romantic and sentimental notion of what a traditional country cottage garden should be, although the origin of cottage gardens may have been of a more practical purpose.

The Origin of Cottage Gardens

There is some debate over the origin of English country cottage gardens, although they were not exclusive to England; there was some form of country “cottage gardens” throughout Europe. Originally, country cottage gardens may have been created as a local source of fruit and vegetables; herbs were also prevalent in cottage gardens. Cottage gardens were just that – the garden of a country cottage, created for necessity and not for ornamental purposes; however, eventually, large estate houses had “cottage gardens” too.

Today, the term cottage garden is used to describe any informal garden design of sprawling plants and may not necessarily contain traditional English cottage garden plants; indeed, the garden of the artist Claude Monet (1840 – 1926), at Giverny in France, has been described as cottage garden style by some, due to its sprawling nature; it is made up of water gardens, various plants, and colors, not true to original cottage gardens.

Create an Aromatic Cottage Garden

The focus of my project is to create an aromatic cottage garden, although I do admit to planting some plants simply for their vibrant colors! Many herbs are fragrant but do not produce the vivid display of color that some ornamental plants do.

An aromatic cottage garden had no need of a lawn; although my current garden does have a lawn, I may eventually add thyme as a “lawn” cover, a style reminiscent of “original” lawn styles. There was usually a path winding its way through the mass of plants and flowers, allowing access to tend to the plants; my garden certainly has the potential to grow in that area!

To create the characteristics of an old-fashioned English country garden include some of the following:

  • old style fencing and a gate/arbor for climbing plants, particularly roses, to climb up.

  • “antique” pots for plants; in lieu of original antique-style pots, I love to use terracotta clay pots. They are cheap (compared to other clay-style pots) and you can add your style and color by painting them if you wish.

  • old style watering cans either for watering or to plant flowers in; I have a few!

  • re-cycled earthenware, old drainage pipes, old pails or even chimney pots can create an authentic appeal to the traditional cottage garden; I am always on the lookout for something “different” to add to my garden.

  • an old wooden bench will provide a place from which to enjoy the garden. I plan to create several cozy corners for the weary gardener (aka me) or visitor to the garden to rest a while.

Traditional Cottage Flowers for a Country Garden

flowers cottage garden

Traditional aromatic cottage flowers were discussed in Traditional Cottage Garden Flowers for an Aromatic Cutting Garden and Introduction to Aromatic Plants, Herbs, and Climbers for a Scented Garden, but here is a recap of some of those aromatic plants:

  • roses – old fashioned or climbing roses such as the Gallica or Damask rose will add fragrance and authenticity to a cottage garden.

  • lavender – a popular aromatic herb and flower, lavender would have originally been used in the cottage garden for its medicinal and aromatic properties.

  • climbing plants in addition to climbing roses, cottage garden climbers include honeysuckle and, in a more modern cottage garden, clematis, both fragrant and beautiful to look at in the summer months.

  • tall plants  such as delphinium*, foxglove* and hollyhock will add depth and color to a country cottage garden.

  • perennials – carnation, peony, lily, crocus, wallflower, marigold, tulip and sweet william.

  • annuals – stock, pansy, and violet.

Note that both of these species are poisonous so take care if your garden is frequented by pets or children.

Most Other Cottage Garden Plants that you can Grow in your Garden

A cottage garden is the ultimate country dream come true, where flowers mix with herbs and vegetables in colorful abandon. You’ll love cutting fresh flowers for bouquets, snipping herbs and lettuces for salad, and picking tender beans for dinner. The real-life cottage gardens of English history were commonly mixed plantings of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, complete with honeybees, chickens, and perhaps a family pig. As time went on and living conditions became less harsh, more flowers were added to cottage gardens.

The joy of these gardens is their casual, informal appearance. They should not be overly neat and tidy! All you really have to worry about is thinning vigorous perennials every few years so that they don’t overstep their boundaries! Here is a list of 20 plants to get started. Print it out and take it with you next time you go to the local garden nursery:

Sneezeweed 
Scarlet runner bean 
Honesty 
Thymes 
Feverfew 
Dill 
Bachelor’s button 
Borage 
Hollyhock 
Mints 
Johnny-jump-up 
Peonies 
Lemon lily 
Foxglove 
Golden glow 
Jasmine tobacco 
Garden phlox 
Wild Columbine 
Sage 
Bleeding heart

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Create Your Own Fresh Flowers Bouquets For Home Decorating

Envision crisp blooms welcoming you consistently during spring and summer when you get back home from work. While this would be a costly suggestion in the event that you employed a flower specialist to give these dazzling courses of action, there are straightforward do-it-without anyone’s help thoughts that can create these beautiful bouquets for your home.

Using fresh cut flowers and plants from your own garden, you can create easy, but elegant masterpieces from the results of your gardening efforts. Clear vases with unique shapes, blooms from your favorite flowering plants and a little water are all that is needed.

Simply place the freshly cut blooms in a vase of water and enjoy. Be sure to cut the flower stems on an angle and remove lower leaves that otherwise would be submerged in water in the vase.

If you want to create an effect of background colors to an arrangement, clip some burgundy foliage and add a few small blooms from a favorite plant.

Alternatively, clip the blossoms, drop them into a decorative bowl of water and fill any room with a delicate fragrance.

Clipping fresh blooms from your own garden like Mini Penny Hydrangea or Heaven Scent Gardenia, for example, does not mean the end of your beautiful outdoor garden. Both plants are rebloomers, thus new blossoms will appear in just six to eight weeks.

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