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Do I have a cottage garden or collection of herbacous borders? Help!

(7 Posts)
MyAngels Wed 15-Jan-14 12:54:30

Hi all

I had an epiphany last night watching Chris on Garden Revival about herbacous borders. I always thought the previous owner of my house (a cottage) had planted a cottage garden (from identifying the plants in my much thumbed Geoff Hamilton's Cottage Garden book), but having watched last night, I wondered if she had indeed planted a whole raft of herbacous borders instead - seemigly a lot of my plants were there. I was very worried by the talk of "lots of work" involved. I certainly seem to be doing loads of work - don't know if its just the garden or that and the fact that she let the blinking lot get so overgrown...

Please can you help - what is the difference between a collection of herbacous borders (we have terraces down a slope, so lots of different areas) and a cottage garden that didn't have much produce in it (just a few fruit trees).

Even though I watched Carol's Cottage Garden revival programme, I don't feel any more enlightened!

I really want a cottage garden and need to know how far away I am from one!

As you can see, am on a steep learning curve...


Will pop over to the general chat later - need advice on the relative merits of a visit to Hestercombe, East Lambrook Manor and Malvern Spring Show....

funnyperson Wed 15-Jan-14 13:51:24

Cottage gardens can grow herbaceous plants as well as herbs and fruit and veg. Does the label matter? Grow what you like.

funnyperson Wed 15-Jan-14 13:54:31

you may like ths blog on cottage gardens

personally I find the difficulty is not to find plants I like or want to grow, but to match them up to soils and aspect and to get the colours/groupings etc right as to move established plants is a pain though that is what real gardeners do- they paint with plants.

MyAngels Wed 15-Jan-14 19:30:16

Thanks - the blog is great - I can't wait to get stuck into it. I particuarly like the references to "informal style" and "no rules" - much more my cup of tea.

I'm not so worried about what I want to plant - more that I'd inherited a collection of borders that was full (over full) of stuff that had been planned to be the right height, colour for its spot and I was intimidated by the lot! The old lady left me with a set of plans for the whole garden - right down to numbered zones - with nearly every plant identified. Great for information, terrifying to live up to.

I look forward to another year of trying to keep alive what I like, planting more like it, and of ripping up the overgrown ugly stuff and not worrying about a blinking repeating yellow theme...

funnyperson Wed 15-Jan-14 20:20:44

Wonderful to have the planting plan left for you though! Perhaps you could scan it in and upload it as a photo?
I agree about not sticking to repeating yellow. Though I think the reason is that the yellow rudbeckias flower late into the summer and are good tall back of border plants so that's why they are so often in those borders. I only really comprehended this last autumn when I visited the secret gardens at sandwich and realised that so much of autumn colour in the herbaceous borders is based around yellow rudbeckias and orange/pink echinaceas.

Mintyfrog Tue 21-Jan-14 15:04:50

"Cottage garden" is a look or feel. There is no rule as such but usualy pastels and varying heights and textures haphazardly placed usualy with some edibles chucked in.
A herbaceous bed would be a planted with a gradient - tallest at the back shortest at the front.
I have a cottage garden with fiery hot colours thrown in just to add zing and because it makes MIL do a catbum face!

Mintyfrog Tue 21-Jan-14 15:05:45

I obviously can't spell today confused

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