What are the best plants for a cottage-style garden? I’m sharing my picks! Join in as I feature favorite plants from my wild-looking, flowering perennial garden.
Flowers for a Cottage-Style Garden
When I say ‘cottage-style’, I mean a happy jungle of flowering perennials. The ones I choose for my garden are suited to my growing zone (6) here in Ontario, Canada, which is a cold climate region with ‘real’ winters.
With any plant choices, I strongly recommend you become friends with your local university extension office (or equivalent) for advice on invasive and recommended plant species. These can be excellent resources for knowing which plants to avoid and those that should do nicely in your garden.
I have listed my go-to plant databases here (United States and Canada) where you can ID plants by image and descriptions, and more.
My Cottage-Style Garden
This is my garden during the summer of 2017.
It’s a large (to me) yard that started with a grass lawn in 2011. To save money, I start a lot of plants from seed and propagate from cuttings. This has a list of the plants you can grow from cuttings in each season.
I grow organically, meaning without the use of any known poisons, herbicides, insecticides, or other -cides. The soil is as sandy as a beach, or close to it, and plants that thrive tend to spread a little too easily. My previous garden was hard clay and it took brute force to even dig the soil, let alone for plant roots to spread. Now I deal with runaway plants like bee balm and coneflowers. Both present challenging growing conditions, but it’s far easier now to tear unwanted plants out than it was to break shovels just trying to dig holes!
Wait! Before You Plant…
Be sure any plants you choose:
- Are recommended for your plant hardiness zone.
- Are not invasive in your area.
- Are suitable for your growing conditions including sun, soil, water, and wind.
- Contribute to biodiversity by providing food, nectar, or habitat for wildlife.
- Will not be too big for the space at mature size.
You can read more ecological gardening tips here.
Cottage-Style Flowering Perennials
These are some of my favorite flowering perennials for the cottage-style look.
This list will grow, so bookmark the page if you want to follow along. The plants I have already featured are also linked below.
- Bee Balm | Monarda
- Blanket Flower | Gallardia
- Bulbs to Plant in Fall
- Chocolate plants | Fragrance and color
- Coneflower | Echinacea
- Coral bells | Heuchera
- Cranesbill | Geranium
- Creeping Jenny* | Lysimachia
*Lysimachia nummularia is considered invasive in some areas of North America.
- Evening Primrose | Oenothera
- Foxglove | Digitalis
- Geraniums | Pelargoniums
- Hostas | Plant list for sunny growing areas
- Hydrangea | Also see How to Grow Hydrangea from Cuttings
- Lilac | Syringa
- Milkweed | Asclepias
- Primrose | Primula
- Red Hot Pokers | Kniphofia
- Rose Campion
- Russian Sage
- Seeds to Sow in Fall
- Speedwell | Veronica
- Tickseed | Coreopsis
- Yarrow | Achillea
- Zonal Geraniums | Pelargoniums
If you’re including annuals, zinnias are a favorite.
And don’t forget to grow some annual sweet peas using these tips.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
Empress of Dirt
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