The Charming English Cottage Garden

by WriterArtist

Often called grandma’s garden, the English Cottage garden enjoys immense popularity in the heart of English people.

One cannot deny the inspiration gained from a small homely English Cottage garden with beautiful seasonal flowers glowing in the pathway brightly in the sun. It was natural that one would brush the mint herbs and rosemary bushes and the flowers while reaching the entrance thus releasing a fresh, pungent aroma of rosemary or mint in the air.

Strong scents of country air becoming alive with these beautiful flowers would give that nostalgic memories that would be prettier than any staged ornamental garden in the world.

But alas, like all other vintage objects, the English Cottage Gardens are fast disappearing from sight.

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Author khalfk

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The English Cottage Style Gardens


A typical English style garden would always lie in the front of the dusty road so that the small cottage would get shielded from the pathway and own some privacy from the shrubs lying between the cottage and the road. This garden did not boast of lawns but was always filled with strange flowers and country herbs that you could just pick away for kitchen.


Former cottage homes featured towering trees in the landscape with veggies and flowers amidst it, the rambling of breeze in the countryside would carry the freshness and the bees would do the cross pollination thus ensuring that the harvest was fresh and juicy.


I am afraid with the immense modern styling of garden designs give lavish landscape for lawns which eat up precious outdoors and require immense maintenance. Water consumption rises and land mowing becomes a necessity. With these modern designs the gardens are pushed to the borders living little space for horticulture or natural forest gardens that can thrive with little maintenance and costs.

The English Cottage

English Cottage
English Cottage
Image courtesy of Pixabay
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The Cottage Garden Design


Every cottager had a garden that the family cherished, knowing each of the hardy plants, rich blooms with delicious aromas, mellowing walls of English Ivy filling the air with freshness and vigour. The cottage gardens would not have straight dug beds or any form of linear designs. They often were irregular and asymmetric. And there lied the beauty of the garden. Every cottager knew his garden like a shepherd knows his sheep, which flower blooming in the season and what herbs and veggies to be pluck at right time.

If you would like to grow your own English style garden, refer -

An English Cottage Inspired Herb Garden

Flowers in and Around the English Cottage Garden


Spring brought with it the joy of warmth and end of winter snow. Violets and poppies not deterred from the frost popped their heads above the ground swaying merrily with the wind. Tulips and lilies shoving their way from the packed cluster showed colourful delights, country roses blooming in plenty reminded of the nostalgic ambiance that surrounded the humble cottage.


The rattling noise of hoofs and ringing of bells from the necks of cattle where they passed the green meadows were not enough to trump the dandelions and forget me nots, for they still showed their smiling blooms springing out of nowhere.


Cabbages and carrots hiding behind the currant bushes, the old apple tree surrounded by the miniscule kitchen garden of herbs with nasturtiums frolicking around – all of them were part of the small garden which did not show bias to any of these plants. They were all welcome in the small space happy with the company of country flowers.


What is true of English Cottage Style Gardens?

There was no space for grass lawns.
Tolovaj on 07/28/2015

There was always problem with space.

Updated: 07/27/2015, WriterArtist
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

Do you own an English style cottage garden?

Veronica on 10/12/2015

My front garden is very, very small. There was no garden when we moved in and I got the concrete up and planted a small cottage garden. Soon the neighbours along here did the same. I have lavender, roses, campanula, peonies, dwarf azaleas, begonias, dwarf rhododendrons, and more. Best of all, I have plants in pots leading to the door and under the lounge window. I have hanging baskets by the front door.

frankbeswick on 10/12/2015

Many allotment gardeners have a flower bed at the front, and some of these duplicate the cottage garden style.

dustytoes on 10/12/2015

I try to replicate this style of gardening, but I never live in any place long enough to do a good job. I have a small yard, so the perennials share space with garden vegetables and annuals. I am getting into growing herbs and edible flowers as well, and I save seeds to plant the following year. In my own mind, on a very small scale, I have a cottage garden!

WriterArtist on 08/01/2015

@frankbeswick - I love the tradition of having one's own cottage garden, small farm house, livestock and growing one's own food. But that is possible only for rich, nowadays real estate commands exorbitant price in urban settings. One has to go to outskirts to buy a small piece of land here and that too is not affordable even to middle class.

I am glad that the Cottage gardens never went out of style. Like everything else they are evolving too. I am happy if the essence of Cottager still remains in the landscaping of UK either by the people who are rich or not so rich.

frankbeswick on 07/30/2015

Cottage gardens underwent an evolution in style. Earlier gardens were like small farms, especially at the rear of the cottage, where cottagers grew vegetables and kept pigs and chickens. But in the nineteenth century, when some people became richer, the garden began to develop the style that you know as the cottage garden.

Herbs would have been essential to cottagers,as medicine was expensive, and so many people grew their own medicaments.

WriterArtist on 07/30/2015

@Digby_Adams and @Tolovaj - The English styled cottage gardens were full of colour. I can imagine how colorful they would have looked with all those yellow and white poppies, fiery red and orange blooms in the spring.

I would never leave a chance to visit any garden Botanical or of any design. It gives a chance to explore the local flora. I would certainly want to visit a traditional Cottage garden preserved in its originality.

I have to say that I love fragrant flowers in the garden and that's why I have planted them in abundance.

WriterArtist on 07/30/2015

@blackspanielgallery - I cannot imagine a cottage garden or any other home garden without herbs. I do agree the cottage styled gardens look adorable because of the English cottages too. The humble cottages look so earthly in the countryside.

WriterArtist on 07/30/2015

@frankbeswick - Using local varieties instead of the exotic species is certainly the way an authentic Cottage Garden should be. Using the designs of Cottage Garden by growing apple and plum trees in unison with the other plants is also a source of seasonal supply of fruits in your garden. Herbs are underestimated and undervalued, they can be used for fast homemade cures, they do not have side effects.

Hybrid varieties of flowers are used for ornamental and commercial purposes. And if you decide to plant them in your garden you cannot attract bees. Bees love nectar and the double layered, big petals blooms are devoid of it.

The urban area of Bangalore that I live was known as pensioner's paradise a few decades back. The entire city was full of greenery with a lavish growth of coconut, jackfruit and mango trees. Alas, all this is giving way to high rises and a concrete jungle.

WriterArtist on 07/30/2015

@frankbeswick - I did realize that a cottage garden was a poor man's green sanctuary. The fact that it mostly grew by itself is aligning with the principles of Nature and the creation.

I am happy that you have mentioned that the cottage gardens are still existing in UK. I am mesmerized by the pictures of some of those older era gardens that are shown in magazines and book covers.

Water scarcity is an increasing threat all over the world. Potable drinking water is becoming scarce. Europe may not feel the water shortage due to its small population though.Climate changes are inevitable and introducing drought tolerant plants is a good idea for the South East part of Great Britain.

I can't say that the sight of lush green lawns are not pleasing, I do love them but I love natural gardens more.

frankbeswick on 07/28/2015

A genuine cottage garden should use heritage varieties of flowers. These often are quite tall, and they should be planted quite thickly.However, there are no hard and fast rules for them, so have what flowers you want. Essential, though, to the cottage garden are bee-friendly flowers, which are rich in nectar and are well-scented, for many English cottagers kept bees. Apple trees were common in cottage gardens, and in some areas, such as Worcestershire, in the West Midlands, people might have a plum or damson tree, for these were great plum growing areas. When travelling through Worcestershire I have seen such trees in hedgerows, the remnant of cottage gardens. Often cottagers might have some herbs, which they used for medicinal purposes.

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