June 28

Top 10 plants for cottage style borders

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Cottage style is one of the most rewarding planting for both gardeners and garden owners: their everlasting beauty not just pleasing the eye, but give shelter and food sources to many living creatures, inviting bees and butterflies to pollinate your entire garden. Selecting the best species are therefore crucial  for all year around seasonal interest. Here is our selection of the best plants for a cottage style border.

  1. Geraniums

    If you need a reliable groundcover and border edging plant, Geraniums will your safest bet. They come in many colours, especially in the range of pinks, blues and whites. Once they start flowering, they are hard to stop, creating a nicely shaped dome of colours at the edge of your borders.

  2. Alliums

    A magnificent bulb that will pop up late spring to mid summer, creating a fantastic architectural effect in your border. They mostly come in lilacs, pinks and whites, and their size vary from chives to the Globemaster. Make sure to leave them on as they start to dry out so they will come back next year as well.

  3. Sisyrinchium striatum

    If you need a subtle yellow vertical interest, the pale yellow-eyed grass is your plant. Most people will go for a purple-white border theme, but adding a bit of yellow next to a purple theme is always a good idea, as these two will contrast each other, and make each other’s colours more vibrant.

  4. Astrantias

    Another reliable group with a prolonged flowering period – especially if deadheaded. They come in all kinds of colours, and will like it even in the part-shade, making them a perfect transition plant from sunny to shady.

  5. Foeniculum vulgare

    Fennel is a tasty culinary herb, which also gives great structural height to your border – reaching about 2 meters when in flower. Their subtle leaves give a soft backdrop to other colourful perennials. You can also get them in bronze colour, which makes it even more interesting when you create a copper-themed planting design.

  6. Stipa tenuissima

    We cannot really make a cottage style border without using some ornamental grasses – and the best choice is the Mexican feather grass. There is no other grass that can create this almost poetic effect of their soft leaves dancing in the wind – it is a great backdrop mixed in with any planting style.

  7. Campanula glomerata

    A great plant in the middle part of the border – it doesn’t get as tall as Verbenas and Agastaches, but would cover most plants at the edge. The Campanula g. ‘Alba’ will give a dramatic bubble of white petals, making it a perfect companion to red roses and other vibrant coloured perennials.

  8. Cynara cardunculus

    Another culinary plant that will spice up your border: the globe artichoke. It can reach about 2.5 meters with the flowering stem, so it is better to put it at the rear of the border, giving it enough space to mature. Its silver foliage will be a prefect backdrop to purple plants, and its structure it will definitely give some architecture to your border.

  9. Aquilegias

    A very reliable group of plants, which comes in all the colour in the world. It will self-seed readily, but the seedcaps are quite nice being left to dry out for the winter time. They also like shade, so can be used as a transition plant from the sunny parts towards the shady areas.

  10. Hydrangeas

    Last but not least, you should note, that there is no cottage style garden without roses and hydrangeas. These deciduous shrubs will bring so much joy during their flowering time, that they usually steal the show from other plants: choose a mixture of them to ensure a prolonged flowering time. Mop-heads, lace-caps and paniculate flower heads are all welcome, and they come in various sizes and colours.


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April 12

Top 10 everlasting perennials

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Having colourful flowers is one of the best thing in creating gardens – living colours popping up in your borders and inviting bees and butterflies to your garden. Our selection consists of the most flower-full ones which will give you a prolonged colour interest whether they are planted in a border or in a container.

  1. Libertia grandiflora

    An endemic plant species form New-Zealand, which perfectly adopted the conditions in the UK, especially in London. A clump forming grass-like perennial with tall white flowers followed by berries which will stay on all winter. Requires a sunny sheltered location for it to best survive if frost occurs.

  2. Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

    An all-time favourite, this plant will spice up any garden location with its spiky purple flowers. This Balkan clary will keep on erecting new flowers if deadheaded continuously, and positioned in a sunny location. It can also tolerate part-shade but will be less vigorous.

  3. Agapanthus africanus

    The African lily is a summer flowering perennial, but the leaves stay on all year around. It prefers acid soil conditions and full sun – it will survive in the shade but will not erect any flowers.

  4. Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’

    One of our favourite wallflowers, this plant will flower pretty much all year around if you keep cutting back the dead flower heads. It is a bushy evergreen plant with a wooden base, which will require full sun for the abundance of its flowers. It is perfectly suitable for roof top containers.

  5. Centranthus ruber

    The red valerian is a Mediterranean species with slightly fragrant flowers. It is semi- evergreen with a wooden base, and will self-seed freely in your garden, if you let it. To avoid it being invasive, cut back the flower-head in late July before they set seeds.

  6. Geranium ‘Rozanne’

    One of the best trailing plants in a garden – perfect for reclaimed brick or timber raised beds. It is a vigorously spreading perennial with violet-blue flowers with a long flowering period – between early summer to late autumn. It survives most soil conditions and even flowers in part-shade.

  7. Verbena bonariensis

    The Argentinian vervain is one the tallest perennials in a garden that you can get: exceeding at 2.5 meters. Its purple clusters of flowers are highly liked by bees, but you can only enjoy them if you can this vigorous perennial back each year to the ground, and keep on deadheading it as well.

  8. Alchemilla mollis

    Another amazing trailing and ground cover plant which is perfect for raised beds. The lady’s mantle bears slightly hairy, soft-green leaves which is its best feature, as it has dewetting properties and keeps on the water beads like tiny pearls. It also has light yellow flowers during the summer.

  9. Nepeta x faassenii

    This garden cat mint will not make your or your neighbour’s cats crazy – it is not the true cat mint, although it has nice aromatic silver-green leaves. The violet flowers appear during the Summer, and if kept deadheaded will stay on until late Autumn.

  10. Erigeron karvinskianus

    Our last but not least member of this top 10 list is perennial flowering from Spring till Late Autumn – a perfect trailer and sunny ground cover that will survive in any little soil. The Mexican fleabane has daisy-lie white flower heads and will form a continuous mat during its growing season. It prefers full sun, and cannot survive in clay soil condition.

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