Free to a good home – one Cottage Garden bed.

As well as having an affinity towards the NGS Open Garden days, we are also members of the RHS and more recently the Cottage Garden Society.

I can see beauty in most gardens but to me the vibrancy of a Cottage Garden takes some beating. I understand that people like formality, not really one of my strong points, or plant their gardens based on mood and colour.

I remember on an RHS level 2 module we had to cut out pictures from garden magazines and arrange a palette board of colours for a garden scheme. At the show and tell the tutor, SN, knew straight away which one was mine. It was like being back at school, always in trouble, just the depth that varied.

As part of developing The Pink Bungalow garden, I am going to create a Cottage Garden bed (border), in the front garden. The size will be approximately 10m x 2m and will be south facing with a beech hedge at the rear. The hedge should provide some shelter from the wind blowing up the Dee Estuary.

Furthest away from the road is the manhole bed hidden by the Yew Tree.  The soils not brilliant but its home to a few plants including a lovely Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’, bought for £2 from a nursery that was closing down.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

Why free to a good home?  Well I think ours is a good home and I intend to plant the new bed with plants grown from free seed or from donated plants. I am sure that this has been done before by many people, so I am not taking any credit for the idea.

The first twelve lots of plants will hopefully be raised from the Cottage Garden Society’s seed distribution, providing that all my choices are available. Other plants will come from existing stock in the garden that can be divided in the Spring and  ones that I’m propagating from cuttings taken for the first time last autumn. If they survive, even though some of these plants were originally purchased, I’m counting them as free-my house, my rules.

I am also willing to count BOGOF deals such as buy one rose get the second free. I am a sucker for fragrance and the new bed will be home to a couple of roses. I also have the misfortune of fixing close family and friend’s computers. Instead of bottles of wine I shall tell them about the new bed and hopefully get a garden voucher, which I will count as a freebie. Oh and any plants or cuttings donated by friends.

Location of the new Cottage Garden bed.

Location of the new Cottage Garden bed.

You can see from the picture that I have still to strip the turf and prepare the bed. The weekend after we moved into The Pink Bungalow I moved the driveway, which ran alongside the beech hedge, put in new drains and then backfilled the existing driveway with soil from the new driveway.

I know that it will not be very nice soil so I am anticipating that a lot of compost will be used. It is also quite dry due to a number of trees belonging to our neighbour, only one of which still exists.

Is there a planting scheme you may ask? Well not really because I don’t know what I’ll end up with and surely that flies in the face of a Cottage Garden. I have seen the planting schemes in, “A Cottage Garden Planner” which has given some ideas and helped prompt my seed choice.

It would be good if you could keep me company and let me know about your experiences with this type of project.

Mahalo and Happy Gardening

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