Cottage Gardening in England and America

During the years I spent writing and photographing English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners, I discovered there are as many different cottage gardens as there are cottage gardeners. So to begin my lecture, I discuss what basic elements characterize a cottage garden and how these effects can be easily achieved by simple layouts and the arrangement of paths, as well as the selection and placement of design elements such as walls, hedges, arbors, gates, and doorways. A quick tour of cottage gardens in various parts of England will point out how these basic design elements work to create effusive, welcoming cottage gardens.

Next, I discuss key cottage garden plants, the hardy perennials, flowering vines and roses so frequently used for creating the exuberant, overflowing look of a cottage garden. Versatility is the key to cottage plants and their use in the garden, so I show different cottage gardens and discuss how various effects are achieved using readily available, easily-grown plants. A surprising number of old-fashioned cottage garden plants are also drought tolerant and I point these out in my lecture.

"But how can you create a cottage garden here in America?" To help answer this question, an important part of my lecture features before and after photographs of my own work as a cottage gardener and landscape designer. Also featured are photographs of Tasha Tudor's wonderful Vermont garden. While every garden site and house may be different, there are some basic design problems that we see again and again. For example, we will see how cottage style plantings can help integrate a house into the surrounding landscape and transform the idea of foundation plantings.

We will also see how cottage-style plantings can transform a formal, unwelcoming entrance into a garden that is a pleasure to come home to. In this part of the lecture, I discuss how a garden's layout and simple seasonal plant combinations can create the rich succession of bloom and the overflowing look so characteristic of cottage gardening.


Handouts

Topics from my design column for The American Horticulturist, the magazine of The American Horticultural Society, including "Doors and Dooryards", "Garden gates", and "Paths". A list of available handouts can be sent upon request.

A selection of cottage garden perennials excerpted from the Cultural Chart of my book , compiled with the help of Gary Koller, Senior Horticulturist at the Arnold Arboretum. These excerpts give important cultural information, as well as design suggestions for using these plants in the garden.

 

 

 



Creating the Cottage Style

Over the last ten years, cottage gardens have become an increasingly popular style of American gardening. It is a style of gardening that is adaptable to all kinds of sites and geographic locales.

I begin this lecture with some inspiring examples of classic English cottage gardens including photos from my book English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners. But the focus is on American cottage-style gardens. Using examples from various parts of the country we explore ideas for small cottage gardens and how the cottage style can create intimacy on larger properties. Also featured are photographs of Tasha Tudor's wonderful Vermont garden. Before and after photographs of my own garden provide an informative and inspiring illustration of the cottage style.

Old-fashioned hardy perennials, flowering vines and roses spilling over each other, paths and arbors are all part of a cottage garden. To help understand and create the cottage garden style, I discuss plant selection, placement and spacing.

Structure is often an important part of cottage garden design, so we also examine basic stylistic elements and how these effects can be easily achieved by simple layouts and the arrangements of paths. By using before and after photos, we explore ways to create a framework that helps establish the all-important intimate relationship between house and garden. I also offer ideas for home owners who want a cottage style garden but already have an existing garden layout.


Handouts

Topics from my design column for The American Horticulturist, the magazine of The American Horticultural Society, including "Doors and Dooryards", "Garden gates", and "Paths". A list of available handouts can be sent upon request.

A selection of cottage garden perennials excerpted from the Cultural Chart of my book , compiled with the help of Gary Koller, Senior Horticulturist at the Arnold Arboretum. These excerpts give important cultural information, as well as design suggestions for using these plants in the garden.

 

 

 

 


Designing the Perennial Border with Spring Bulbs

In this lecture we explore ideas for adding color and interest to the perennial border using spring bulbs. Learn how to extend the garden's bloom and create interesting combinations of foliage and texture by layering early, mid and late-blooming crocus, narcissus and tulips. Create exciting color harmonies and contrasts with early, spring-blooming perennials by selecting spring bulbs of various heights, shapes, colors and blooming periods.

 

Featuring gardens in America and in Europe, we will see ideas for small gardens and intimate garden spaces,as well as bold plantings for larger garden areas. We will see bulbs used in a variety of garden settings, from formal to informal, as well as woodlands and naturalistic plantings.

Here too are ideas for creating lively, attractive foundation plantings with changing seasonal interest.

Learn tricks of the trade for adding spring bulbs to existing perennial borders and existing landscapes, as well as bulb placement and planting techniques - what goes in when, where and how.


Handouts

Topics from my design column for The American Horticulturist, the magazine of The American Horticultural Society, including "Doors and Dooryards", "Garden gates", and "Paths". A list of available handouts can be sent upon request.

A selection of cottage garden perennials excerpted from the Cultural Chart of my book , compiled with the help of Gary Koller, Senior Horticulturist at the Arnold Arboretum. These excerpts give important cultural information, as well as design suggestions for using these plants in the garden.