English Cottage Garden
English Cottage Garden

Video: English Cottage Garden

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Video: English Cottage and Country Gardens 2023, February

When the English garden is mentioned, we are usually talking about landscaped gardens that occupy large areas and amaze in scale. Particularly beautiful are the Russian gardens of old estates, made in the English landscape style.

Our readers are more or less familiar with such gardens and parks. But how often the miniature English cottage garden with its traditional flowers and herbs is overlooked!

The flower garden, which replaced the utilitarian one in the middle of the 16th century, became the basis for many horticultural experiments and painstaking work on the acclimatization of plants. Many flowers that have long been grown in domestic dachas originate from English cottage gardens.

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If the size of your plot is small, you can still create a harmonious stylistic composition without sacrificing beauty, or the convenience of caring for plants, or your own comfort. To create a proper, cute and cozy English garden, you need "old-fashioned" English flowers.

Selected by observant English gardeners, graceful and sustainable traditional combinations of these species can easily be combined into a beautiful garden composition. But it should be remembered that not all species and varieties are suitable for a more severe Russian climate, therefore, it is necessary to select plants for the composition of an English garden very carefully, taking into account all their requirements for soils, climate, etc.

Let's start with the English classics. The humid climate of England is favorable for the cultivation of herbaceous perennials, but it is impossible to imagine an English garden without a rose garden. The fences of the houses are always hidden by the climbing rose bushes of numerous varieties. But even if roses are good in themselves, they reveal their beauty even more effectively when combined with herbaceous perennials.

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Geraniums and roses are a great combination. Pergolas, entwined with climbing roses, will acquire a special sound if the composition is knocked out from below with lush bushes of garden geraniums. Reddish-green, split leaves of varietal geraniums perfectly set off the buds and flowers.

Here we mean the real geranium - the indigenous inhabitant of the temperate zone. Often it is confused with another "geranium" - pelargonium, and therefore it is believed that it does not hibernate in the open field. But real garden geranium is an excellent plant to decorate your flower garden.

Alone, without roses, garden geraniums can also form the basis of a composition, their traditional location is a mixborder. Low-growing geraniums are usually placed on the front edge - varieties of blood-red, cantebrian or large-rhizome, they are in good harmony with violets, gravilat, swimsuit, and carnations in height and color. In the background, it is better to put species that grow up to 50 cm - a huge number of them have been bred.

Basically, these are varieties of meadow geranium: with different colors of flowers (from white to blue and purple), leaves (from green to red), having a different bush shape. The Silver Queen variety with white flowers with black stamens (they change the color intensity depending on the weather - from light purple to dry and warm to much darker to cloudy and cool) looks especially exquisite in combination with Elizabeth Ann (with brown -reddish leaves). The tallest geraniums suitable for planting in the background are dark geranium varieties: Samobor (with unusual purple spots on the leaves).

climbing roses
climbing roses

Yet geraniums are especially good next to roses. When choosing geraniums for joint planting with roses, one should take into account their height, flowering time and shade of flowers. There are classic combinations of certain varieties of roses with specific varieties of geraniums.

A well-established example of such a pair is the combination of the white Madame Plantier rose and Johnson's Blue geranium with blue flowers. It is also important that it can be repeated in the conditions of Central Russia. And if for some reason you do not grow roses, then instead of them white peonies will perfectly fit into the composition: a combination of white flowers with blue will be a spectacular color scheme.

It's also important to add a few varieties of geraniums to pick up the flowering baton. It is not necessary to combine the most lush varieties - simple flowers can look just as impressive as double ones, the main thing is to choose the right color combination and balance the composition. For example, pink roses will be in perfect harmony with various varieties of blood-red geranium and even its wild forms.

An important point in caring for such a composition is preparation for wintering. Before covering the roses, be sure to cut off the aerial part of the geraniums (even in winter-green varieties) - this will prevent damping.


But not only geraniums will be good companions to the rose. The heritage of the traditions of the monastery garden in the English cottage garden is the composition of roses in combination with fragrant and medicinal plants: calendula, lavender, sage and cuff.

Calendula, or marigolds, will protect roses from certain types of nematodes, while giving the garden a special pastoral charm. As an ornamental plant, calendula has been used since the 16th century, and the duration of its flowering (from June to November) has long made it one of the most popular plants in domestic summer cottages. However, the selection of marigold varieties in Russia is aimed at improving its medicinal properties (Ryzhik, Kalta varieties). Therefore, decorative, unusual in appearance varieties are the result of European selection (by the way, many of them contain the same amount of medicinal substances as Russian varieties).

A compact (up to 45 cm) bush of calendula cultivar Sensation with dark green shoots and large (7-8 cm in diameter) double inflorescences can be used as a tapeworm. But it will look especially impressive if you plant it next to climbing roses of a similar yellow-orange hue, for example, Golden Gate or the old English Graham Thomas variety. A lighter green almost spherical bush of calendula Juwel 40-50 cm tall with salmon-orange flowers will work well with both orange-pink (Salita) and white roses (Innocencia).

Of all the variety of lavender species in the North-West of European Russia, only English lavender can be grown, but it is she who is needed as a companion for roses in the composition. English lavender can withstand temperatures down to –25 ° C without shelter, and up to –30 ° C under good snow cover. The way to make it more winter-hardy is quite simple - after flowering, which lasts about two months, the plants are pruned. Thanks to this, lavender will better survive under the snow and will not be damaged in spring.

English lavender has very abundant and bright flowering - these are spikelets of blue, blue, purple, pink, white. Accordingly, lavender works well as a companion for a variety of rose varieties. Blue varieties of lavender (Munstead and Hidcote Bluе) perfectly set off flowers of cream, peach, orange roses.

The lilac-pink inflorescences of Rosea lavender are best combined with the Spirit of Freedom rose - this rose has dense double, cup-shaped, typical for old roses, flowers that open gradually, and their hue gradually passes from a soft pink to lilac-pink. The white lavender Alba can match the widest range of rose garden shades.


One of the most traditional companions of roses is sage. Ornamental sage species came to Europe much later than medicinal ones - only in the 18th century, but soon they began to be very widely cultivated in flower beds. Two types of sage, in terms of their cold resistance and decorativeness, are perfect for garden compositions in the conditions of the North-West of European Russia.

Medicinal sage will decorate the garden, and at the same time it can be used as a medicinal plant and a spice. The most cold-resistant is its form with dense velvety leaves and blue-purple flowers. It will look especially beautiful in combination with white and cream roses.

Forest sage is a cold-resistant and very beautiful plant. Many varieties and hybrids have been created on the basis of this species: Viola Klose, Rhapsody in Blue (with blue flowers), Rose Queen (with pink flowers), Schneehogel (with white flowers). A mixture of different sage varieties in a flower garden near the front porch in early summer will delight the eye with color transitions.

The cuff has long been recognized in England as an ornamental plant, but here it is undeservedly bypassed by gardeners. Its Robusta variety looks like a wild-growing species, but differs in a denser bush and lush flowering. The greenish-yellow flowers of the cuff are suitable as a background for many garden compositions, but the classic combination of white and light pink roses, cuff and delphinium looks especially beautiful.

As for the latter plant, thanks to the efforts of breeders since the beginning of the 18th century, new varieties of delphiniums have been continuously appearing, differing in height, flowering time and shade of flowers. For a composition with roses and a cuff, varieties of the Belladonna group are best suited, they are quite frost-resistant, and their simple flowers, reaching 2 cm in diameter, will complement, but will not compete with the queen of the garden - the rose.

Read the next part. Selection of shrubs and perennials for an English garden →

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