Monday, February 3, 2014

Flowers for Our Future Cottage Garden

I've been gardening now for at least five years and up until this point, it's been mainly vegetables, fruits and other edibles plants.  Lately, however, I've been finding myself preoccupied with the other end of the gardening spectrum - mainly flowers and other ornamentals.  I'm a huge fan of British gardening expert, Carol Klein, and loved her BBC series, Life in a Cottage Garden.  When we moved into our new home, I knew I that wanted to design and plant a cottage garden of my own. 

During the past several months, I've been thinking about what sort of flowers I'd want to grow in my cottage garden.  Not surprisingly I'm opting for mostly perennials of varying shades, colors, scent, textures, heights and growing requirements.  I'd also like to throw in a few vegetable plants within my ornamental beds for, shall we say, some added 'whimsy'.  In any case, here a list of flowering plants (mostly perennials) that I'll be starting from seed this spring. 

Agastache - Sunset Hyssop
Allium - Nodding Onion
Aubrieta - Whitewell Gem
Catmint - Blue Heaven
Coreopsis - Double Sunburst
Columbine - McKana Giants
Cottage Pinks - Rainbow Loveliness
Chrysanthemum - Robinson Red
Creeping Thyme
Delphinium - Pacific Giant
Echinacea - Purple Coneflower
Forget-Me-Not - Victoria Blue(short-lived perennial)
Grass - Northern Sea Oats
Jupiter's beard - Centurion Shield
Lakspur (annual)
Lavender - English
Lavender - French Perfume
Lobelia  - Cascade of Color (annual)
Lupine - Russell Blend
Nicotiana - Indian Peace Pipe
Penstemon - Rocky Mountain Blue
Poppy - Hungarian Blue (annual)
Poppy - Oriental Blend
Poppy- Oriental Red
Rudbeckia - Autumn Gloriosa Blend
Rudbeckia - Black-Eyed Susan
Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower) - Isaac House Blend
Viola - Johnny-Jump-Up
Zinnia - Lilliput, Mixed Colors (annual)

In addition to these, I'm growing a few other flowers from seed I collected locally or received from friends, including baptisia, bleeding hearts, Shasta daisy and Montauk daisy (from seeds I collected at nearby Minot Beach).  When I visited the gardens at Colonial Williamburg two years ago, I came across the most amazing planting of baptisia that had to have been at least six feet tall and ten feet wide.  It was enough to leave a lasting impression in me. 

While the vegetable gardener in me loves to bask in the sun, embracing ornamental plants will also allow me to focus more attention on the (often neglected) shadier parts of our property - something we seem to have in abundance here.  What I used to look upon as wasted space now conjures up images of a future woodland garden planted with snowdrops, hellebore, bleeding hearts and primrose.

I used to compare vegetable gardeners and flower gardeners to gays and lesbians - we belong to the same community, but at the end of the day, we're attracted to different things.  Now I'm not so sure.


  1. It depends upon what you are looking at. They are both growing things. But if you're main focus is food, you lean toward the vegetable garden. If your main focus is your environment around you, you lean toward the ornamental. I think we all have a bit of both. Or why would I have a rose arbor going into my garden? I keep telling myself I'm going to make rose jelly some day. But I can never bring myself to pick the petals when they are fresh. I love the smell and the pretty flowers too much.

  2. I have to agree with you Daphne. For me, embracing sides of gardening - edibles, ornamentals, propagation, sustainability makes me feel like I'm learning and developing as a gardener. Speaking of roses, can't wait to have a rose arbor of my own.

  3. You should check out the show "An Edible Garden" with Alys Fowler. I love her relaxed gardening style of mixing flower and edibles.

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