garden planning at Lowes garden center

Working On Our Cottage Garden

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“Never underestimate the healing power of a quiet moment in the garden.”

Josephine Albert
cottage garden planning

It’s not often that I open up with a quote, but this one seemed fitting for today’s post on gardens.

It’s no easy feat to take a ranch home and turn it into a cottage, but in April, we were able to get it close to a style that I love…and one that Titus just goes along with. Hehe joke, Titus and I were made for each other in the way that we both like “old”, cozy things. And after we went to Europe for our anniversary last year, well, I got him hooked on European style too!

Part of being hooked on European style is being hooked on European gardens as well. We have two areas for gardens in our front yard and one of them is a more formal, European inspired garden with boxwood, roses, and pea gravel. Not to mention a really cool old cement bench!

Very frequently I’ll just sit on the bench during golden hour, take in the nice weather, and look at all the plants. It truly is healing. And though I’m working on duplicating that for the backyard (because hey, I love my privacy) you can’t overlook the power that plants have!

In my exterior reveal post, you may remember me pointing out the bare spot under our big window. We already had the formal garden so the hope for that area was to be our cottage garden!

For those that are unaware, a cottage garden is a “distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, it depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure.”

Basically I describe it as a lot of beautiful flowers mixed with herbs grown close together for a gorgeous, lush display of flowers. Because it’s “wild” and not formal, it’s best suited for the cottage, rustic type homes. Usually they’re more associated with English cottage, not French country (yes, there’s a difference between all these styles), but I think a cottage garden can cover a lot of styles. 😉 And just so you know, I’m definitely an excited beginner when it comes to gardening, but I’m not here to give tips…yet! I do hope to inspire though.

Though we had seeds going in that bare garden area, the majority of them ended up not taking. Tired of looking at bare patches, we headed out to Lowe’s Garden Center to get what we needed to fill in the bare spots. No, not sponsored, but their garden center is so good!

Thankfully we found some good deals (including an $11 full grown rose bush say whattt?), so filling in the bare area wasn’t going to be as expensive as we thought!

Photo below- April 2020- still pretty bare

french country cottage
April 2020

I have a whole Pinterest board of cottage exteriors + gardens that you can follow along with, but here are some photos that inspire me:

9 Impressive Cottage Gardens: What Defines Cottage Gardening?
inspo- source
inspo- via Pinterest
These Are the 10 Dreamiest #Gardens on Pinterest
inspo-source

As you can see, cottage gardens have repeats of flowers and colors, but it’s mostly a beautiful display of flowers all growing together!

Though I’m still learning, I did stick to the basic cottage garden elements. In my cottage garden you’ll find hollyhocks, roses, daisies, lavender, peonies, lamb’s ear, cone flower, and more!

I also have some structural items such as the bird feeder sculpture and the bird bath. We did end up moving the brown trellises after I took these pictures. They’re too flimsy for the front yard and they kept falling over!

cottage garden planning

In the image below (taken June 2020) you’ll see that the bare spaces are pretty much filled in. Of course, the flowers have to grow and blend together now. That’s where the real magic happens. You’ll also see that we filled the grass in that’s in the front of the garden and that the window boxes started filling in too!

cottage garden planning

I did try to arrange them by height. Ground covers and low plants in the front with bushes and hollyhocks in the back, but that tall plant in the front (near the right hand side) surprised me. It was here before we got here and I don’t know what it is!

Here are some more pictures of the garden progress. From moving in, to removing bushes, and planting the flowers!

I feel happy that it’s “done!” As in, I don’t need to plant anything anymore. I need to just wait and see how things grow together and make adjustments as needed. I’m just giddy thinking about what it could look like a year or two from now!

We’re wasting no time on outdoor projects and we’ve been working on doing raised garden beds too! In the meantime, you can see what our garden looked like in our first home here and here.

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Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.