When we think about cottage gardens we tend to think of gardens in the southern states or English gardens. However, cottage gardening is just a style; it is relaxed, colourful and fun. There aren’t rules really just a few basic principles that will help you create a floral abundance. We have chosen our top 20 plants for a cottage garden this season in our local area of Brisbane and surrounds.
Cottage gardening is such a forgiving style of gardening, placing larger plants at the back of your border and then grouping odd numbers together. Allow plants to spill over paths. Embrace imperfections, and let nature guide your design for a charming, inviting garden.
We all yearn for plants that can do poorly in our humid hot summers, there are always alternatives. Here are some of our current favourites.
You can refer to this list to help you find some of these fabulous cottage garden plants.
Magnolia - Port Wine
Port Wine Magnolia is an attractive, evergreen shrub with green, glossy leaves. It has small, creamy-purple flowers throughout the year. Low maintenance, very hardy. Height to 2m.
The lightly scented pale pink blooms of the Rondeletia signal that spring is on its way. A very hardy shrub with dark green foliage, works well as a back drop plant to a cottage garden with lots of colour. Height to 2-3m.
Brugmansia – Angel Trumpet (small tree shape)
What a showy plant this can be. Flowers come in a range of colours from white to pinks to apricots and oranges. This plant can be grown as a shrub or clipped up to create the look of a small tree, this will show off the trumpet blooms as they hang from the tree. Height to 2m.
Escallonia are a low to medium growing evergreen flowering shrub with masses of flowers in spring through summer. Drought tolerant once established. Varying in colour from white through to pink and red. Height to 2m.
Every cottage garden needs a rose, or 2 or 3. The floribunda style of rose with masses of blooms work well in a cottage garden, one of the more popular one’s is the Iceberg with its clear white blooms.
Known as the butterfly bush, as their flowers are perfect for feeding the butterflies. These shrubs can range in flower colour from white to blue, mauve and dark purple. There are many new cultivars available of Buddleia.
Blooms are a must in a cottage garden. Their cheerful blooms will flower throughout late winter, spring and into summer. Very hardy, will tolerate most soil types. Height to 75cm.
There are so many colours to choose from it is easy to collect a great display. The flower colours range from white, blue, purples, reds and pinks. Many varieties are available at only certain times of the year, so always keep an eye out for a new colour for the garden. Height can vary.
French Lavender is the hardiest of all the Lavenders in our climate. Flowering from mid-winter through to early summer, prune by about a third after flowering. Gardeners trick – throw a handful of lime around the bush in mid-summer. Height to 1m.
Tabernaemontana ‘Little Emerald’
Attractive shrub that retains a neat round habit, glossy dark green foliage and faintly sweet scented, white flowers which are produced all year around. Highly recommended. Height to 1m.
Tulbaghia ‘Society Garlic’
Cottage garden favourite, blue-green grassy foliage and abundant dainty lilac flowers on tall slender stems. Resilient and far tougher than its pretty looks suggest. Height 40 cm.
Many varieties have foliage that is small and grass-like. A great plant to give permanent structure. Others have larger, straplike foliage. Height varies.
Plectranthus Mona Lavender
Perfect for a shady place in the garden, low growing with an upright habit and producing masses of lavender coloured flowers spikes from spring through to autumn. Mona Lavender can be used in the garden or in pots, and looks great when under planted with white flowering Bacopa. Height to 75cm.
Limonium perezii ‘Perennial Statice’
A perennial plant cherished for its vibrant clusters of tiny,purple colorful flowers. Their flowers stalks make great cut flowers. Height to 60cm.
Shasta Daisy is a beloved perennial known for its pristine white petals and golden-yellow centers. It thrives in well-drained soil and full sunlight. it blooms profusely in summer, attracting pollinators and brightening gardens with its classic, daisy-like charm. Height to 30cm.
Cineraria Silver Dust
The attractive silver grey foliage of Cineraria Silver Dust makes a striking accent plant in a cottage garden or pot. The foliage is deeply lobed and covered in downy hair, the flowers are yellow and are usually removed.
Dainty pink flowers cover this compact shrub throughout the year. Use as a border plant or in a pot. Drought tolerant once established. Height to 30cm.
Prolific displays of pink or white flowers are borne on the ends of dainty stems that resemble millions of little butterflies. Flowering during the summer and autumn months, cut back to ground level at the beginning of winter. This plant is generally available through the summer and the autumn. Height 60 to 1m.
This delicate looking ground cover is available in white, pink or pale blue. Use in hanging baskets, pots or over retaining walls. Height to 20cm.
Erigeron ‘Seaside Daisy’
A dense matt forming ground cover, with dainty daisy like flowers, starting white and fading to pink. Height 20cm.