At the head of one of the garden’s most spectacular vistas, The Cottage Garden is a multi-layered planting that surrounds a seemingly ancient romantic ruin, in fact a 1993 addition, built to look like the remnant walls of a former dwelling.
The planting here is deliberately contrived to look uncontrived, that it arrived here almost by itself – in fact the opposite is true and the staging of this planting requires more time than is spent on any other section of the garden. The long flowering season of the Cottage Garden which runs from April through to October is due to a diverse range of planted material as well as taking advantage of what arrives by itself – we allow certain British natives to seed around for early colour, some such as forget-me-nots and campions in profusion, only to be ruthlessly removed when the space is wanted for something else.
The season for this area starts forms of Geum and Aquilegia, the latter betraying their own promiscuity in the amazing array of flower colour and form. By the middle of May the first poppies are in flower, joined shortly by foxgloves and the first astrantias and Centaurea montana. Camassias and a pale lemon flowered form of Field Buttercup, Ranunculus acris, link the cottage to the meadow beyond.
By mid summer the mixture in the Cottage Garden is richer still with Athemis tinctoria in shades of rich yellow to almost white. Other perennials include Knautia macedonica, various potentillas, forms of Salvia nemorosa, Lychnis coronaria, Oenothera and Nepeta. Colour comes also from skeletal tracery of Verbena bonariense and annuals sown and planted into gaps. Most striking of these are the Corn Marigolds, blue Flax and deceptively delicate Gilia tricolor.
The colourful wands of Dierama in July hover above the lower plantings whilst slender stems of the pale starry-flowered Bidens heterophylla combines with asters for colour later on.
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