My Must Have Plants and Roses in my Sun Loving Cottage Garden

I know it’s the time of year when many of us start planning and dreaming about our gardens. Some people believe you need to live in England or a cottage to have a cottage-style garden, but that is far from the truth. Whether your house is a colonial, ranch, or split level, anyone can create a romantic tumble of plants around their home. The cottage garden is more popular than ever due to its informal approach and simplicity, but the choice of plants matters. Today, I want to share insights about my garden and discuss some of my favorite perennials, annuals, blooming shrubs, and roses that you can add to enhance your cottage garden landscape.

Let’s begin with some of my favorite foundation trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs play a crucial role in creating a base for your garden; they provide height, structure, and contribute color and romance. In my garden, a few of my favorites include magnolia, weeping cherry, and lilac topiary.

Next, I add a layer of shrubs, which comprises a mix of evergreen and deciduous shrubs, contributing to an interesting foundation for my garden. I make a conscious effort to choose cottage garden shrubs that offer more than one season of interest. Some of my favorites are Proven Winners Green Velvet Boxwoods, Proven Winners Incrediball Hydrangeas, Proven Winners Little Lime and Lime Light Hydrangea, Fire Light and Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, lilacs, and finally, Eastern Snowbird Viburnum

Let’s delve into the world of roses! If you’ve been following me, you already know about my love for roses—they are a crucial part of my landscape. To explore more about roses, you can read my blog here. Among my favorites are David Austin’s Olivia, Gentle Hermione, Queen of Sweden, and Jackson Perkins’ Sweet Rose of Mine.

A cottage garden wouldn’t be complete without climbers. Climbing plants not only add height to your garden but also provide visual interest when they climb on trellises and obelisks. Some of my preferred climbers include David Austin’s Generous Gardener, Strawberry Vanilla, Jackson and Perkins’ Honeymoon Arbor Rose, Eden Rose, and Clematis Jackmanii.

Now, let’s explore perennials! I blend classic cottage garden favorites, including Peonies, Sarah Barnhart, Old-fashioned Iris, Cranesbill Geraniums (especially Sanguineum, my favorite), Millennium Allium, Nepeta, Proven Winners Walkers Low, Cats Pajamas, Bellflower, Opalescence Phlox, Autumn Joy Sedum, and finally, May Night Salvia—just to name a few. 🙂

My absolute favorite biennial is Foxglove. I purchase them by color, so any that come in pink, white, and purple are on my list. This year, I’m winter sowing Pink Gin! Many species can be encouraged to self-seed, giving that informal look. I prefer to control where they self-seed because color and composition are important to me.

I’m working on improving the inclusion of annuals in my gardens, and that’s a goal for 2024. They will provide much-needed color in the garden during late August, which was lacking last year. I plan to plant Snap Dragon Opua Lavender and Costa Rose from Johnny’s Seeds. Additionally, I’m considering Cosmos Apricotta and Double Click Violet from Select Seeds. I’ll also be adding Proven Winners Supertunia Silverberry, Truffula Pink Gomphrena, and Angelface Blue Summer. This year, I’m excited to include Walleriana Double Pink Impatiens and Poppies Laurens Grape

I plant bulbs in the fall, and my favorites include Alliums in all sizes—Ambassador, Gladiator, and Nigrum, to name a few. When it comes to tubers, Dahlias top my list. Some of my favorites are Café Au Lait, Wizard of Oz, and Sweet Nathalie. You can find my posts on dahlias here.

I hope you’ve gained some ideas and inspiration for your cottage garden. Remember, your garden should reflect what you love. It should be a place of beauty, a little bit of whimsy, and a sanctuary for peace and relaxation.

For more details on cottage-style gardening, you can explore my first-ever blog post here. Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more gardening updates and my plans for the spring.

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  1. Just found you on IG! What an amazing garden you have created. I am in awe of how Beautiful it is. I want to start creating a cottage garden now, although we have a really large garden I Think it will work with borders like you have.
    Can you tell me where the pretty Water fountain is from?
    Regards Camilla

    1. Hi Camilla, thank you for your kind words. I found my fountain at my local nursery, the brand is Campania International.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous, thank you for Sharing, can’t wait to start planting this year, lots of lovely plant ideas, you are amazing.💖

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