Monday, July 28, 2008

Forerunner of Eclectic Gardens

Kerascoet cottage garden - Courtesy of Creative Commons


Can you find anything more beautiful or romantic than an English cottage style garden? There is more life and amazement contained in this eclectic style than can be found in any other method of design. Grandeur pales in comparison with the sheer exuberance of life that erupts in such a planting.

Variety is the spice of life and the lifeblood of a colorful garden. I don't believe there is a more vibrant style of bloom display to be found than this method. Cram it all in and enjoy the show. That is the reason we do this thing called gardening in the first place. The toil is repaid ten fold as the succession of blooming erupts and changes, ever moving around the beds as the sun travels from one axis to another.

Wilton House Gardens - Courtesy of Creative Commons


Granted we can't all have a river running through it. I do admit there are no flowery borders in this image of the Wilton House. Yet, the waterway itself adds a particular magic to the view. We can however add a water feature of diminutive proportions to gain the accent of reflection and mirroring found only with a water element.

The feeling of life one absorbs from a cottage style garden is found in no other style of garden design. There are very few rules to follow which gives you the feeling of freedom. You can toss in all manner of plants and so long as you planned the plantings so the center is taller than the ends and the sides, it will all be fabulously displayed.

Of course, one has to pay attention to grouping plants of like minded water desires. More for the leaves than for the roots as the base can always be amended to either retain or get rid of water as required. Overhead watering is really not a desirable feature in a perennial garden. Using a ground water system allows you more freedom in planting combinations.

Ground water reduces mildew and fungus problems on foliage for plants that are prone to falling prey to them. Heavenly perennials like garden phlox is fine with a once a week overhead bath to clean the dust, but if done every day even the most mildew resistant will soon become diseased. The same is true of asters and beebalm.


Anne Hathaway's Cottage - Courtesy of Creative Commons


When planning the cottage style garden, do be sure to create paths that are at least 36" wide. If you have ever been impaled by the wheelbarrow handle while trying to maneuver a curve in a too narrow garden path this tidbit of wisdom will have already been foremost in your mind while planning the spaces in your garden. Or perhaps it was the time that the leg got hung up on a rock as you turned and all the weeds and mess in the barrow was deposited back in the freshly cleaned bed? (Yes, this happened to me, how did you guess?)


Eclectic is not knew as a style of design. It is simply the modernized term for cottage. Cottage gardens or cottage decorating, it is all one and the same. Oh and that shabby chic look? Those that must get by with what they have or find have been practicing the shabby chic look for thousands of years. It is however, about darn time that having everything matching and the same was discovered as boring. Variety is the only way to over come boredom and regularity.
G.G.

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