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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