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Our Gardening Guides

English Cottage Gardening at Its Finest

English cottage gardens are distinctive for their attachment to small houses and taking up much of the yard. Cottages in England were typified by small houses and small yards with fences. So, a cottage garden will likely be the defining part of your yard if it is a small space. Read our gardening guides below and find out more.


English cottage gardens have a little bit of everything jammed into confined spaces. Fences work great for not only intertwining vines but also for having plants stick out between planks of a white picket fence. Plan on having many varieties of plants close together and not much room with which to work. Many of your plants will be low maintenance once they settle in.

You will also need to have a somewhat open area that gets enough sun for the crowded plants. If you have tall trees surrounding your garden space, you may need to plan an English cottage garden somewhere else. Since the garden is in a smaller space there is no need for any special irrigation techniques as a simple hose should do.

english cottage garden

Growing in garden

Find plants that grow well in your climate and don't have a very deep or hardy root system. Bulbs and perennials are great for this type of garden such as day lilies, tulips, pansies, and wallflowers. Because plants are grown close together, vary the heights of your plants. If you have a fence, grow some ivy up and then have a tall flower in front of that with some ground-dwelling flowers in front of those. Not only does layering add color to your yard but makes the best use of your garden space.

Having an archway is also appropriate for an entry way or something in the middle of your walking space. You can not only grow ivy plants around the archway structure but you can also hang plants from it in pots as well.

Gardening guides - maintenance of garden

Your garden should be maintenance free for the most part. If you've selected plants that work for your climate then they should be active when it's warm and dormant when it's cold. You'll probably have to clean out blooms after they fall off. Weeding won't be too much of a problem since most of the plants are grown close together.

Watering should be done according to how much rain you get and how often. Usually a once every two weeks watering should suffice to keep your plants happy. Don't water in the winter as the dormant plants are resting and don't need as much precipitation. We hope you enjoyed our brief gardening guide.

 Enjoy your English cottage garden!

Planning a Butterfly Garden

If you enjoy the company of butterflies in your yard, as I do; then one type of garden you will definitely want to create is one that will appeal to butterflies. A butterfly garden has flowers that are colorful, bright, and cheerful. You can make your butterfly garden in the front yard, back yard, or on the side if you have room for one on the side of the house.

Your butterfly garden can be situated next to a stone wall or picket fence. You will definitely want to make sure it is in an area where you can look out the window and enjoy the butterflies who flock to your garden. Butterfly gardens should not only contain flowers with a high nectar content but also contain plants for the larvae and caterpillars to feed on.

Female butterflies lay their eggs in these plants, which are commonly referred to as host plants. The leaves of these plants will be consumed by the larvae and caterpillars. Let's talk more about it in our following butterfly gardening guides.

butterfly garden

Butterfly garden should receive full sunlight for the flowers to grow well

Popular flowers for a butterfly garden include: phlox, aster, coneflower, hibiscus, lobelia, verbena, passion flower, daisy, zinnia, cosmos, impatiens, azalea. Host plants include: fennel, milkweed, dogwood, willow, black cherry.

When I lived on the east coast five years ago, we had milkweed plants in our garden the caterpillars loved to dine on. Do not use any pesticides in your butterfly garden as these substances are toxic to butterflies and their larvae. Use an insecticidal soap in place of pesticides to keep unwanted insects away from your flowers.

The type of butterflies your garden will attract depends on what kind of butterflies are native to your region. The Butterfly site provides a clickable region map that allows you to see what butterflies live in your state. I frequently see swallowtails and admirals where I live.

Another alternative you can provide as living space for the butterflies in your garden is a butterfly house. While these houses are the average size of a birdhouse, the entry is designed so that only butterflies can enter. Birds cannot, so the birds in your yard cannot disturb the butterflies inside.

The butterfly house can be mounted on a pole in your garden with the openings facing your window so you can watch the butterflies enter and exit the house.

Finally, don't forget to include some type of birdbath for your butterfly garden. Butterflies require water for drinking as do all living beings, and they are quite fun to watch when they drink water while they sit on the edge of the container.

 Enjoy your butterfly garden!