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9 perfect cottage garden plants

If we were to say to you the words ‘cottage garden’ what thoughts would immediately spring to mind? The answer is probably an idyllic ‘chocolate box’ garden. You know the type – a thatched cottage with roses around the door and a brick path leading to a picket fence and a summer garden packed with delphiniums and hollyhocks. The problem with those romantic images is that they generally bear very little resemblance to reality. It’s not always sunny, nor is it always summer.

However, it’s still possible to create the perfect 21 st century cottage garden, or informal mixed garden, if you spend time on getting the ‘design’ right and you choose your plants carefully. We should qualify that by saying that cottage gardens aren’t designed exactly or subject to traditional rules of garden convention- they’re crafted. Cottage gardens are not contrived: they’re practical and decorative. To create the perfect informal garden, all you’ll need is a love of plants and an artistic eye. Having said that, a little useful help and advice never goes amiss, so here are Ladybrook Nursery’s 9 plants for the perfect cottage garden.

Cottage Garden Plants


These biennial or perennial plants are erect and unbranched, with a coating of star-shaped hairs. The leaves are usually lobed or toothless with solitary flowers arranged in fascicles or racemes. The notched petals can be pink, purple, white or yellow and are usually over 3 centimetres wide. These vibrant flowers are the perfect cottage garden plant bringing beautiful colour and a soft, floral scent to your garden.


These twining climbers are beautifully scented and ideal for growing over walls, trees and other garden structures. With their white, blue, pink or purple flowers in May and June wisterias are an attractive addition to a cottage garden.

Rambling Roses

Rambling roses have many uses such as decorating pergolas and arches, as well as rambling through trees and bushes or covering unsightly objects. They have small flowers which are displayed in bunches. Most of them flower once a year in early summer although there are some like the Albrighton Rambler which will flower all summer long.


Foxgloves (Digitalis) have a tall, spiked, tubular flowers and can vary in colour from white and yellow, to purple or pink. Foxgloves are loved by bees and other insects. This biennial plant has vivid and attractive flowers which is why it’s so commonly used in cottage garden design.


Delphinium cultivars can vary in height and bloom in mid-summer. They are widely grown for their impressive flower spikes. They can grow up to 2m depending on the cultivar and blend in gorgeously in borders next to iris and peonies.


Ideal for attracting bees and butterflies to your garden, phlox produce very fragrant flowers which will fill your cottage garden with floral aromas. The flowers can vary from blue through to white and pink with large domed heads which last for up to 5 weeks.

Hardy Geraniums

These tough and easy to grow perennials are arguably the most popular in the UK with colourful petals. The deservedly popular, deep blue ‘Johnson’s Blue’ and geranium ‘Rozanne’ can flower for months on end from early summer through to the first frosts.


Paeonies can introduce vibrant colour to borders and cut flower material in spring and early summer. With large, vivacious flowers in pink, white and red these timeless plants add a romantic feel to cottage gardens.


Cosmos are easy-to- grow annuals which are perfect for borders, cottage gardens and summer bedding displays with vibrant and appealing flowers. They come in a wide variety of colours and sizes and attract many beneficial pollinators.

2 comments on “9 perfect cottage garden plants

  1. Maureen Martin says:

    Can you please tell me if you stock lavender and if so how much for 12 thanking you

    • ladybrook says:

      Hi Maureen, for trade enquiries you are best to call us on 0161 440 8060 or send us an email on

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