Our cottage garden

23 November 2019
This is our new cottage garden. I started it in August and it's growing well but it's not quite finished. We've gone from tending a very productive vegetable garden for about 30 years, to a small cottage garden that fits into a third of the old garden. We've taken out some gardens, they're lawn now, the rest are flowers, herbs and fruit.

This is our winter garden in 2006. Now the garden closest to the camera and the middle garden are  gone, and the cottage garden is growing in the two gardens closest to the picket fence.

And this is today's garden taken from a different angle. The picket fence in the last photo is on the left of this garden.

After photographing vegetables for so long, flowers have made me stop and think. It's easy to photograph a pumpkin or tomatoes, you're trying to capture health, colour and productivity in a home garden. But what of flowers? Those of you who have read here for years will know I don't stage photos; I like to present what is here and how we are really living. With flowers, it's completely different - well, for me it is. Now when I try to capture what is here, it's a tangle of flowers with weeds, dead leaves and flower heads. I didn't dead head or tidy the garden before I photographed the garden because I wanted it to be real for you.  It's at the stage now that it needs to be trimmed back and pruned so the plants will grow well and each plant will have it's own space as well as blend in with what it's a part of.

David Austin standard roses - Mary Rose above and Munstead Wood below.

  This is a patio rose called "The Fairy", next to a true geranium.
On the left, Buddleia "Joan" growing next to the Montville Rose.

The non-invasive buddleia Blue Chip, growing in a pot.
Salvia Blue Spires.
Angelonias are growing in Joan's shade.
White cleome, dark pink salvia, seaside daisies, Chiapas Sage and cat mint (Nepeta).  The entire garden has a lot of nut grass in it, and this part is the worst.
Blue and pink salvia with daisies.  Compost heap in the background.
At the front of the garden, Angelonias, with pink French lavender - Pink Princess, cosmos coming up at back and Giants of Victorious petunias.  Those long green spikes are nut grass.

 Pink Gaura with the fabulous pink Chiapas salvia - not flowering yet.

White gaura - butterfly bush.
 White pelargonium, daisies and Giants of Victorious petunias.
I have two feature climbing plants growing on metal supports in pots on either side of a walkway. Above is Rosea (Podranea Ricasoliana) with a foxglove-type pink flower.  On the other side is a lavender climber, the name escapes me at the moment, which has already grown to the top of the support.  One is in a green pot, the other in a grey pot. I thought about that a lot before I settled into the decision to not match the pots. I want to use what I have here and buying a large ceramic pot didn't fit into the scheme of things when I had a suitable pot sitting in the shed.

I have many more photos but you get the idea, I'm sure. Next week it will be much tidier but I want you to see it now - it's much more natural and wild and I think it's beautiful. I've said many times before, nothing is perfect. This is how it looks now, it will continue evolving so I'll take more photos as it matures.  I hope you enjoy the garden.


  1. Beautiful ! I wonder if I can grow some of these in Michigan (USA) yes my garden is cut by half or more now...and more flowers ..less heavy work ,,more experimenting !

  2. *sigh* Just beautiful! The roses especially. Thank you for sharing these. In Canada we are heading into winter. After a week of really cold temperatures recently, everything is dead and brown outside. Seeing your lovely photos is a breath of fresh air. :)

  3. Thank you for such a wonderful tour through your beautiful garden. I am truely impressed with your knowledge and knowing the names of all the plants! I love the wild look.

    1. I’ve been gardening for a long time, Roz. I always keep my plant tags and do some research when I buy new plants. It sinks in after a while.

  4. It's a lovely cottage garden, Rhonda. All those flowers and fragrances mingling together to make something beautiful. I"m sure you enjoy it very much.

  5. Cottage Gardens are so forgiving too...so pretty and not a strict order or edge.

  6. Thank you for the lovely photos of your cottage garden. We also have David Austin standard roses - two of Anne Boleyn (pink) and between them L. D. Braithwaite(crimson). They flower on and off for such a long time here and have been worth every penny.

  7. Your garden is absolutely lovely! It is very inspiring! I look forward to seeing more of your wonderful photos!

  8. What a lovely space to spend some time. Thank you for sharing its serenity.

  9. Good morning Rhonda and Hanno, just lovely! The David Austin roses and salvias are a big favorite here! Mild and sunny 22degC here today we had chilly 15deg one day last week then two days later it hit 40deg so it's hard on the plants!

  10. Hello Rhonda - what a joy for you to look at, and for the bees to visit.
    Michelle in Wellington, NZ

  11. Oh it’s lovely, a bright spark that made me smile in the chill of the late fall, with the approach of winter.

  12. A wonderful post. It's refreshing to see pics of how a "real" garden often looks in everyones yard at some point in time.

    I think gardening magazines filled with gorgeous pictures of "picture perfect" plants and beds have a tendency discourage new and even seasoned gardeners since their gardens just don't (and can't) measure up to the ones featured. No ones garden, unless a full time professional gardener is employed by the owner to keep things pretty, looks like those pictures and I think they are a disservice to would be gardeners who might otherwise decide to try their hands at planting a few flowers and going on from there.

  13. It looks lovely, Rhonda. I love all of the flowers. Your gardens always look like you.

    just love your cottage garden! wild as it should be i reckon! looks beautiful
    man i wish i could get have of those to grow here; so hot & dry, am trying to go with geraniums (all types) salvias & succulents at the moment but it's a big work in progress
    loved the little tour around your cottage garden
    thanx for sharing



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