Having the cottage garden style involves a lot of gardening. Don’t imagine it doesn’t. This year it seems more than ever. I can often feel overwhelmed trying to keep on top of the jumble.
Perennials can turn from glorious to spent in a matter of days. So I am having some ideas about how to reduce the work.
Brick paving in back garden
When we paved the back garden I chose old stock bricks, the soft yellow bricks used for walls. They’re not ideal for paving but I love them because they look so warm and inviting. They are porous, so with shade and rain they get slimey and black.
Here is it looking great after I’ve power washed it.
Using my new T Racer Surface Cleaner (a round thing) on the Karcher power washer has made the job so much easier and so much less work. I wish I’d thought of it before.
I quite like to have some nettles but the more I pull them the more there are. I’m thinking of leaving them for the butterflies. If they start to spread even more then I will have to start pulling them out again.
Here is the back corner, a big high tangle of honeysuckle, jasmine, clematis, pyracantha, and some casual planting at ground level.
Two years ago I hacked it right back which let in more light and gave me more planting space but of course it’s all grown back. I’m thinking now that I’ll just leave the corner to go wild. For wildlife it’s great – just not sure how wild it could get. Hmmmm
Let my neighbour have the blooms
I’ve noticed that whatever I plant on my west-facing side of the fence immediately pops through to my neighbour’s east-facing side to get the morning sun. I wondered where my honeysuckle, alpina clematis and Virginia creeper had gone. Next door, that’s where. I’ve got the stem and they’ve got a lovely display. Coaxing shoots back to my side hasn’t worked – you just can’t beat what nature wants to do so I think I’ll just leave them to it.
I’ve decided that the wisteria on the front of the house has had its day – keeping it cut back is a twice yearly expensive job and it only flowers for about ten days. It soaks us with rain by the front door, covers our windows and is heading up into our gutters and roof tiles. Tree guys are coming to take it down to shoulder height in August. I think I’ll be glad when the growth has gone. It may start up again. We shall see.
Summer bedding plants. So tempting aren’t they, but I’ve never had much success with them. Maybe not enough sun for enough of the day or maybe I don’t get round to putting them in early enough. Seriously thinking of not bothering next year. Pelargoniums just sit there; seeds of annuals never come up (I might as well sprinkle 5p pieces all round the garden). I think I’ll just be grateful for the Welsh poppies that come up everywhere without me doing anything.
This is a new idea. I dropped pots of late summer flowering perennials into this big blue pot so we can enjoy the splash of colour until the flowers fade. Then I will lift out the pots and plant them in the borders.
Having a garden is of course all about the task/hobby of gardening. It’s an ongoing hopefully enjoyable process not an end product. It’s a never ending changing scene not a display like a shop window. That’s the joy of it BUT I really hope I have a bit less work to do in the garden next year. We shall see……
11 comments on "Six on a Saturday: tips for not feeling overwhelmed by the cottage garden style"
Nice,well done. I accidentally discovered the same idea of putting perennials in a pot then planting them out. Have some rudbeckia performing just that role now. Shame about the Listeria, I love mone, although it is not on the house,it’s fairly well behaved on a 6’trellis, although it is gradually invading other parts of the garden. Hooe to see you next week.
Thankyou Jon, I’ve been blogging about every three weeks up to now so if I do every week it will be a much shorter piece but I will definitely do something for next week – it’s a lovely sunny day here in London this morning – I’m off into the garden. Thanks so much for your patience and your encouragement. Julie
I think the wisteria will come again but be more manageable. It has become an oppressive monster. Best wishes, Julie
What a six! Yep, a border which looks like a natural jumble of cottage-style is very hard work. Here, in a variation of your pot theme, I’ve sunk some cheap plastic pots into the ground. Then I grow things in other cheap plastic pots (all the same size) which I drop into the ones in the ground to flower, then remove and put out of the way while replacing with other pots which are then flowering. Works particularly well with showy seasonal things like lilies and plants which might be invasive if left in the ground, like Persicaria.
Thanks so much for the reply John. That sounds interesting. Do you keep the pots watered or just let them get on with it? It sounds like a great idea for things that look fab for a while but boring the other 11 months of the year. I will definitely think about doing that. Julie
I dare not let my other half see those brick pavers, I’d never hear the last of it. I read an article back along about growing wisteria as free standing standards, supported by a post. It made sense at the time. Love your garden, must have a read through your earlier posts.
Paving? Why, would they want some? It really is a thing of beauty although rather impractical! But I don’t care – I love it and look out on it every day. Got rid of the lawn years ago. Thanks you for your interest and encouragement. Best wishes, Julie (London Cottage Garden)
Yes they are lovely aren’t they. A devil to keep looking their best!
Hi Julie, i have just discovered your website via rosybee and i must say, what an enjoyable read.shame about the wisteria but maybe something like a jasmine might be a bit less invasive and flower for longer?
i have just started a blog over at thefrogbitblog.com if you care to have a look. not all just going to be about flowers and gardening, but at this time of year its obvioulsy the hot topic?
Have you tried purple toadflax? i had some grow wild in my inner city yard a few years back and when i moved out to the countryside i made sure i took some with me(its here anyway but there’s now lots in my garden). The bees absolutley love it, and its got a very long flowering season.
anyway, ive now subscribed, keep up the good work (and good word)
thank you so much Chris. It’s so encouraging when we all share through each other’s blogs and websites. I am happy to see you have subscribed. I will look at yours too. Once the monster wisteria has gone and we can see out of our windows again, the trachelospermum struggling underneath it will romp up the house and be spectacular I’m sure. I shall report. best wishes, Julie