Cre­ate that cot­tage charm

Achiev­ing that colour­ful cot­tage gar­den look is within your reach. Gar­den­ing ex­pert Lucy Hewett helps out.

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - East Kent Property - - OUTDOORS -

It may be some peo­ple’s idea of a colour-clash­ing night­mare but I love the hig­gledy-pig­gledy look of a cot­tage gar­den.

It’s meant to be an easy-go­ing af­fair with plants grown close to­gether to look as if they were put to­gether at ran­dom and an­nu­als and peren­ni­als that self seed and so not need­ing reg­u­lar dig­ging up and di­vid­ing.

If you’d like to achieve this look, there are some es­sen­tial plants to get your cot­tage gar­den started.

How about fox­gloves? Teamed with some al­chemilla mol­lis, ladies man­tle, or hardy gera­ni­ums at their base fox­gloves thrive in moist, fer­tile, well-drained soil in sun or par­tial shade and reach up to 2m.

Laven­der will look good at the front of the bor­der and it’s worth hav­ing some for the scent alone. Com­bine with rose­mary and salvias, laven­der likes free drain­ing soil in full sun. Bees will love you for plant­ing some.

Del­phini­ums look great, grow­ing up to 2m and pre­fer­ring full sun. They pre­fer shel­ter from strong winds, or will need stak­ing and look good at the back of the bor­der with some pe­onies, daisies or iris in front of them.

Arch­ing sprays of dra­matic red cro­cos­mia are a must in my cot­tage gar­den mix. Reach­ing a me­tre high its buds open into up­right rows of dev­il­ish red blooms along with sword like fo­liage that adds shape and tex­ture to the bor­der.

What­ever you are grow­ing this sum­mer, keep dead­head­ing.

I know it’s bor­ing but a few min­utes of re­mov­ing dead flow­ers from plants will be worth it for the re­ward of con­tin­u­ous flow­er­ing.

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