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Tips on how to create the perfect cottage garden from Sally and Lucy Lewis at Folies of Stansted



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Sally and Lucy Lewis, from Folies of Stansted, give their top tips for designing a quintessentially English garden that provides a real wow factor...

Have you ever dreamed of having a garden not unlike the quintessential and breathtaking cottage gardens you sometimes see on the pages of Homes & Gardens? It's much simpler and easier than you would ever think and a cottage garden design simply suits any property.

The great thing about a cottage garden is that there are few rules but lots of fun, colour and charm. One of the main themes of this garden design is to have every inch of the space counted for, filled with beautiful perennials stretching high and low, an abundance of herbs, fruit trees, a couple of rose arches and climbers (all amazing for bees and wildlife) meandering on any spare wall.

The great thing about cottage gardens is there are few rules but lots of fun, colour and charm
The great thing about cottage gardens is there are few rules but lots of fun, colour and charm

Top this off with a few quirky sculptural objects hiding amongst the billowy perennials to really give your garden that wow factor.

Here are a few tips to help turn your cottage garden dream into a reality.

Start small and grow your garden as your confidence grows

Like any garden design, it takes time and money. The cottage garden is the kind of garden that looks almost like it has planted itself, with a charming chaotic feel.

To start, we would recommend focusing on one border at a time and deciding what perennial plants you want – there really is not a wrong answer!

Different heights, colours and textures is an important aspect of a cottage garden. One key element to note is to have height at the back of the border and lower plants coming towards the front.

Delphiniums, foxgloves and lupins can add great structure and height with flowing nepeta, geums, salvias and swaying grasses – anything that catches your eye – interspersing in between each other. Make sure when you are filling your border to capacity you leave space for your plants to grow and always read the label.

The most important thing to remember is to always enjoy making your unique little oasis
The most important thing to remember is to always enjoy making your unique little oasis

Don't be afraid to start on one border; you will soon be obsessed with gardening as it develops and matures every year. All you need is a good level of love, care and passion!

Paths and walkways

If your garden is big enough, the classic cottage garden design will nearly always have some sort of winding pathway in between borders, with beautiful flowers spilling over the side of the path during the summer that brush your ankles as you walk.

The classic cottage garden design will nearly always have some sort of winding pathway in between borders
The classic cottage garden design will nearly always have some sort of winding pathway in between borders

There are many ways to make a walkway, including leaving it as grass, although this is perhaps slightly higher maintenance in the long run as it will require regular mowing. Using gravel and old pieces of wood/brick can create a lovely rustic feel to your garden. Meandering pathways also add a sense of mystery and destination.

Obelisks, arches and arbores

To create a focal point, there is nothing more romantic than a scented climber reaching far above towards the sky.

Fix your scented rambling rose to your frame. Any strong frame will do, but make sure it is one that you like during the winter months as well.

As we said, there aren't really any rules to making a perfect cottage garden and the most important thing to remember is to always enjoy making your unique little oasis. It is yours to be proud of!

Find out more about Folies at www.foliesofstansted.com.



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