Cottage Gardening With Wildlife In Mind
Cottage gardening is in many ways one of the most natural and simplest routes to take when setting about creating a wildlife friendly garden.
A cottage garden just lends itself to the idea!
There is usually a path or paths leading to a focal point, perhaps a simple garden seat or a traditional garden shed, included as a strong design feature in a cottage garden. Often the paths define the shape of the beds which are rarely, some would say never, symmetrical.
Using Pea gravel for the paths will allow self sowing seeds to soften the paths edges and emphasize the informal and relaxed nature of cottage gardens.
A cottage garden works well when we have a small garden as the dense planting strategy maximizes the use of the limited space. Containers and garden pots blend very well with the overall style of cottage gardening.
Key Design Features Of Cottage Gardening:
- Informal planting, usually in strong groups that are allowed to
merge with their neighbors
- Mixture of ornamental and edible plants that are allowed to
- Perennials, Biennials and Annuals used to give maximum
flowering through the seasons
- Anything that self sows stays within reason, it all adds to the
- Dense planting for low maintenance cottage gardening
- Flowers, flowers and more flowers of varying heights and widths,
wispy or dense foliage.
Establishing Cottage Gardens Takes Time:
Even so, satisfying results can be achieved fairly quickly.
There is a clear concept that allows for spontaneity and variety, and once the planting has been done, and if we enter into the spirit of cottage gardening we will accept that finicky is not in the vocabulary
of this type of gardening. Just keep filling in the gaps with annuals or with herbs and any vegetables that will thrive there.
Soil fertility needs feeding with compost and fertilizer as there will
be a lot of competition going on. This mixed planting helps produce a natural pest control regime as Hoverflies and other beneficial insects are attracted to the flowers.
Remember though that a cottage garden is a flowering garden which makes it an ideal way of creating a butterfly garden. Buddlea's and Hebe's look very natural in cottage gardens.
The plant world is our oyster when it comes to cottage gardening, so what we choose comes down to personal taste, the climate where we live and our budget. With this in mind the plants mentioned below are just guidelines to set us on our way to creating a cottage garden habitat for wildlife.
Nine easy to grow cottage garden plants:
Campanula or Bellflower
Yarrow as long as its in well drained soil
Be sure to allow self sowing and have a determination to complement and enrich your cottage garden with the repeat planting technique.
Poppies such as Icelandic and Californian will self sow profusely and in doing so will help provide the random splashes of colour desired with cottage gardening.
Another simple wildlife gardening technique that mirrors nature is to plant clumps or sow seeds of the same plants in different areas of the garden, not too many but enough to make its presence noticed.
This can be done by adding a few more of the same plants where they have self seeded so as to increase there presence and the splash of colour they now provide in that section of your cottage garden.
Geraniums, Foxgloves and Alliums respond well to this tactic.
Whatever mix of cottage plants we choose it's almost a certainty that we will create a garden habitat for wildlife, especially for beneficial insects.