A cottage garden’s greatest appeal is that it seems to lack any conscious design. But even a cottage garden needs to be controlled. Some of the most successful cottage gardens start with a formal structure and soften the framework with the lavishness of cottage plants.
If there’s a failing in cottage gardening, it’s the idea that the garden can take care of itself. That is definitely not the case. In fact, a cottage garden can be high maintenance. Some flowers will become thugs, squeezing out others. Self-sowers can quickly get out of hand. Perennials will still need periodic dividing, or they will die out. With so many flowers, deadheading becomes time consuming, but the alternative is a lot of past-prime flowers.
But the appeal of a cottage garden is easily apparent. The exuberance of flowers and fragrance welcomes you home and greets you every time you open your door. If you’d like to surround your home with a cottage feel, you can start simply, by putting a small bed on either side of the path or drive to your house and continuing to expand it over the years. From there you can add additional paths and seating areas and other personal touches.