Can the British cottage garden style be adapted with American native plants? Absolutely! To find out how, check out this month's (July/August 2012) issue of the The American Gardener Magazine, featuring a full-length article that I wrote addressing this very topic. "Cottage Garden, American Style," explains the design principles behind creating cottage gardens and includes lists of native plants best adapted to give it that unique look. As a web special, The American Horticultural Society included my list of native cottage garden plants organized by regions of the country.
The article expands upon a post I wrote on this blog called "Native Plants for the Cottage Garden" back in 2010. The American Gardener Magazine is the official publication of The American Horticultural Society. A subscription to the magazine is available for a very reasonable membership fee.
Can't wait to read your article! Congrats. Good topic, not to mention how to make a cottage garden work with / combine with more structure and architecture. TX is the nearest place with some good examples of that for my wanderings...ReplyDelete
Thanks, David. I'd be interested in seeing those Texas gardens. I think if cottage garden is broadly defined, it may even work in the desert southwest. It would obviously look completely different. A bit more negative space. But that's appropriate, right?Delete
We are so hoping this style will soon vanish in the UK!ReplyDelete
Generally here it's an excuse for random planting of desperate acquisitive purchases of plants and total absence of design.
Sure you want to encourage it???
I can understand that. If the style were ubiquitous, it probably would have its problems and excesses. But here in the States, any excuse to give up a little bit of lawn and shrubbery is a huge step forward. If you talk about informally arranged planting beds, most Americans would look at you quizzically; mention cottage gardens, and then they have a context for understanding a garden style (rather than just a yard).Delete
So yes, if Americans can embrace this style with our own local materials, I'm all for it.
Such a different context, Thomas!Delete
Siew - I've been hearing that complaint, especially from garden designers, for the last 20 years. Have seen too much 'bad design,' random planting and absence of design. You might find this interesting http://bit.ly/cZLstc.
I just received my copy of The American Gardener which comes with a membership to AHS. I always look forward to this publication. I have just skimmed the article so far and the only disappointment so far is with the pictures which could be a bit better. No worries though as the 'meat' of the article is most important.ReplyDelete
That's valid, Layanee. I didn't contribute the photographs. Partly because I'm not a photographer and partly because it is so difficult to find good images of well designed native gardens. Which is why we need more of them!Delete
I have all these antique garden books, and half of their charm to me is that there are no photographs at all. They occasionally use a drawing. The writing is what really shines. There is no photograph to interpret for me, so probably whatever I imagine they are describing is different than someone else. I love the romance of that.
But of course, photos are important way of communicating about gardens. Even if there was some gorgeous native garden, I would not be the person to photograph it. I'll leave that to the professionals.
As a subscriber, I am eager to read your article. That is exactly the style I strive for in my garden in the Chicago area, which mixes natives and exotics. Actually, I have seven of the 10 you recommend for this region. Which reminds me, I love calico aster - but be warned it can grow like a monster, almost a medium sized shrub that seeds prolifically.ReplyDelete
That was a very good article. It's a really interesting diversion from some of the common plants and I really like the idea of emphasizing structure. I'm a late-comer to realizing what grasses can do, but I'm very impressed now that i've joined the club. I like your website too.ReplyDelete
How I would love to grab a copy of the magazine. Unfortunately I can't find a copy from the bookstores. I think its all sold out or what.ReplyDelete
Let us hope the English cottage garden does not disappear. People have a right to plant what they like where they like. It is their garden. I think of the bottle trees and eccentric gardens I see here in the South. Their owners love them, and I I am sure they care not a whit what "tasteful" gardeners think of them.ReplyDelete
I love the eccentric, flamboyant look of English cottage gardens...glad to see there is info out there for adapting it to American plants.ReplyDelete
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Great efforts dude !