Cottage Garden main photo of a garden full of colorful flowers

Beautiful Cottage Garden Ideas

Hello friends! We thought we would take you on a Cottage Garden tour here at the Rosevine Cottage.  This is what we spend all of those hours planning, watering, tending.  This is what gives us such joy and we wanted to share the beauty with you and ways that you can make your own Cottage garden.


What Is A Cottage Garden?


A cottage garden usually is densely planted and has multiple layers of flowers. It has ornamental plants and fine edibles all married together in a beautiful flower bed.  
a beautiful delphinium blue flower for your cottage garden


The use of shorter and taller plantings draws the eye up and off the ground as it follows the beautiful colors and textures in the cottage garden beds. These beautiful blue delphiniums come in dark, medium, light blue, and white. They are tall and don’t need staking but do a great job as a backdrop to your cottage garden. They are a beautiful perennial that you would sow after the last frost. They like the cool weather of springtime.  For best results put the seeds in the refrigerator the week before you plant them. They come in a very tall growing variety and a dwarf version. Look here for larkspur seeds or check our Where To Buy Seeds post.  These seeds can be direct sown into the garden or you can start them indoors before the last frost.


Outsidepride Larkspur Rocket - 1000 Seeds

Larkspur is another beautiful plant for your Cottage Garden. They will add height and drama to your garden and will give your flowerbed that flash of color.  They prefer cooler weather and you should place dampened seeds in the refrigerator for a week before sowing in your garden bed.

They grow in USDA zones 3- 9.  They get to be thirty-six inches tall and are an annual plant that will need to be planted yearly in your garden.  

You can purchase these beautiful cottage garden larkspur here



Here is a cottage garden fit for a proper fairy, filled with iris, a hydrangea, lemon balm, mums and bordered with an informal rock border. Strolls through the garden must include a basket for picking the herbs that grow along the pathways and made into tea when you enter the cottage.

Iris bulbs are planted in the fall for enjoyment in the springtime. They come in a variety of colors and are of a medium height to bring up the center of your Cottage garden. You want to put them in some water to soak for an hour and then put them in the ground using a hand shovel or a bulb planting tool.  You want to plant them when evening temperatures are 40 – 50 degrees F. at least six to eight weeks before the first freeze.  Large bulbs are planted five or six inches deep and smaller bulbs at three or four inches deep. If your winter temperatures dip into the single digits make sure you mulch your bulbs to protect them from the cold.   In zones 9-11 it helps to place them in your refrigerator the week before planting outside.

Hydrangeas are a beautiful bush that comes in a variety of blooming and color options. They grow in growing zones 4 through 9. They will lose their leaves in winter in places that get cold but grow new leaves and blossoms in the spring through the summer.  In places that get quite hot, they will need shade in the hottest part of the day. Otherwise partial shade.  They have some varieties that are repeat bloomers but the original variety only bloom once but if you do not let them dry out, blooms on the plant last quite a long time.  

Lemon Balm is just one herb variety that will work well in a cottage garden.  Seeds to consider putting in your garden are dill, chives, chamomile, lavender, calendula, oregano, sage, thyme, basil.  Herbs used for making teas are also a good idea to include in the garden.  Don’t forget a herb harvesting basket when you go out in the cottage garden so you can pick some herbs while you are out there and a good pair of scissors.

Chrysanthemums or Mums for short will be a good choice for your cottage garden as in the summer they will just be greenery but come fall they will be in bloom when some of your other plants are no longer blooming.  They will add a showy splash of color. You can buy them in the fall and overwinter them or you can start them as seeds in the springtime. They come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and they can really add beauty to your garden. 


Water fountain in a cottage garden with hydrangea flowers all around it
Fountains can be a beautiful addition to your garden and can be large or small depending on your size needs. The addition of a fountain can add the beautiful trickle of water and will draw your fine feathered friends to your cottage garden to enjoy a drink. They can be more modern or traditional, just how you like it.
Bird Baths can make a real splash for the birds that will come and visit your garden.  Choose one for the edge of your garden and enjoy watching the birds that flock to your own little piece of heaven on earth.
Bright yellow lillies in a cottage garden

What Plants Can I Put In A Cottage Garden?

A variety of lilies and other bulbs are a great idea for your cottage garden.  Choose them by height for the perfect spot in your new or existing bed in the fall and mulch them for the winter’s chill. 
Orange lillies in a cottag garden


Put splashes of color and texture to shine through the spring and early summer.  Just make sure to pay attention to the sun needs of each bulb, and how long they bloom so you can pair them with other plants that will take over for them when their blooms start to fade.


These canna bulbs of ours are a tall variety and show off their beautiful tropical-looking blooms.  They are quite dramatic and are over five feet tall when they are their full height.
Grandma Cottage loved these bearded iris blossoms are so gorgeous and very easy to grow and need minimal care to really have a beautiful plant. Iris will need to be periodically divided to prevent overcrowding because they do spread. This is done in the dormant period after the blooms drop. They need at least half a day of sunlight and will require some shade in the afternoon if you live in a very hot climate. 


Hydrangeas are some of our favorite flowers for our Cottage Garden as you can see.  

We have traditional varieties and newer ever bearing varieties and even some vining ones.  



A pathway is another thing you may want to consider to place in your garden.  It can be brick, gravel, stepping stones, concrete, mulched, or whatever you fancy. 


Lighting for your garden paths is an important way to make sure that you can enjoy the cottage garden that you worked so hard on into the evening hours. They are perfect for parties and dining out in the garden under the stars. 



Garden arbors and trellising may be necessary depending on your plant choices. Keep that in mind so that you will be prepared when your garden is in all of its glory. 


Oakleaf hydrangeas are also a beautiful option for your garden. They are a pretty shrub but be aware, they grow to be ten feet tall and eight feet wide!  Oakleaf hydrangea is native to the southeast parts of America and is hardier than the hydrangea that you may be used to.  They like good well-drained soil. The blooms will start out as green and change to white during the spring and summer.  The flowers last a long time and at the end of the season, these light white/pink blossoms will turn an orangy brown color. The twelve-inch leaves stay a dark green all season turning orange as the fall weather comes. They are hardy to zone 5 and like sunshine with shade in the afternoon at the hottest part of the day. They can be all in the shade but a little sunshine will improve your flowering.
Garden globes are so pretty to place as a piece of interest in your garden.  They sparkle in the sunlight and some of them come as garden lights to light up your beautiful garden after the sun has set for the day.



Knock-out roses are a great way to add beauty to your Cottage Garden.  They are easy to grow, more disease resistant, and are not as particular as the traditional rose bushes. They even come in petite varieties that get only eighteen inches tall. There are the regular knock-out and a double knock-out rose and they come in red, white, yellow, coral, and pink. 

Knock-out roses are hardy to zone 5.  If they are not pruned they can get up to 3-4 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.  A good rose feed upon planting and in the spring will make them a very happy plant.




Traditional roses made a gorgeous addition to your garden as well. They like a good rose food once a month. We like this one.  They require more care than the Knock-Out variety like a good fungicide to keep the mildew off and an organic spray for insects.

They will need to be pruned regularly too to keep them blooming. We have an article on how to prune roses to help you.



There are shrub varieties, climbing varieties and even carpet varieties that spread.  There are roses with huge blooms and mini roses with very tiny blossoms.



There are so many colors to choose from when selecting roses.  Some have hardly any scent and some are perfume roses that smell absolutely wonderful!


There are newer varieties that are more problem-free and heirloom varieties our grandmothers enjoyed. 
We enjoy some of them all.  
We can’t wait to see what you have in your garden!
Join us on our Facebook group and show us your beautiful Cottage Garden design!



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