Flowering Cottage Garden Comeback
Are flowers back in vogue? After years of Yuccas, decades of Dianella and what seems like an eternity of endless strap foliage, flowers are taking over. Gardens (and the insects and birds that delight in them) have turned the corner and are finally being filled with flowers once again. Check out our top ten wonderful flowers to fill your garden or balcony with for spring and summer blooms.
Our favourite ‘picks’ of the bunch:
- Spires of foxgloves are looking terrific with their trumpet bells reaching for the sky. They are great for adding height to your garden bed and a sense of whimsy.
- Also known as spider flowers, these are another tall focal point for your flower garden. The pink, purple and white flowers have wonderfully spidery whiskers on them and they love a sunny spot, where they’ll continue to bloom all summer, and bees love them.
- Shasta Daisies. The shasta daisy is your typical white disc of petals with golden yellow centre. It clumps up and can be used in a sunny and part shaded parts of your garden as a great ground cover or filler plant. The flowering stems cut well and last for ages as a cut flower.
- Gerberas are best known these days as a cut flower, but in every country garden you’ll find these classic daisy-like blooms lining the front path with the red, yellow, cream, orange and pink flowers. They need sun and excellent drainage but will reward you with months of picking flowers. Gerberas grow happily in pots, and naturally are great for picking and bringing inside.
- Mexican sage. Botanically known as Salvia leucantha, is a winner for coastal climates. The purple and white flower appear from spring through to late autumn and attract bees. It also has attractive foliage that’s covered in soft hairs giving it a grey, silvery appearance, and its other name ‘Woolly Sage’.
- Statice is also known as sea lavender or marsh rosemary. The blooms and papery and dry, allowing you to cut them and dry them as an indoor display easily. But the look SO beautiful in the garden en masse it could seem like a sacrifice not worth making, though they will repeat bloom. ‘Perezii Blue Seas’ is a really popular form that grows to about 60cm and flowers in spring and summer. They wavy foliage is a picture year-round and looks great edging paths where it makes a lovely border.
- Sweet Alice or Alyssum is one of the most enduring, dainty annuals. It forms a soft mound and will trail too if planted in baskets and pots. The flowers smell richly of honey and come in white, pink and purplish cerise. Despite being an annual, alyssum easily seeds and comes back in the same spot with little encouragement year after year.
- Lavender is never out of fashion – it’s simply too good a performer in the garden. There are many species too, each with their own colour and shape, and all delightful. The best thing to remember about lavender is that it loves a haircut, and loves some added lime or dolomite applied to the soil each year. Pots or plots, this is a must have plant for a sunny position.
- Emu Bush. Eremophila nivea is the closest plant to a native lavender. The mauve purple flowersattract bees, butterflies and birds. Like lavender, it thrives in a sunny, well drained position and likes to be pruned after flowering to encourage new blooms and a bushy habit. It also does well in pots has stunning grey downy foliage that always looks beautiful.
- Mulla Mulla is a divine native species that’s become popular in cottage gardens. It has pretty pink flowers are feathery and perfect as cut and dried for interior display. They look great massed in the garden.
by Meredith Kirton