Writing Nag is a pseudonym of blogger Patricia Biro. She writes about home and garden, finance, creative writing, and vintage collectibles.
The Peony is one of the most romantic flowers in the English cottage garden. Soft and fragrant with large overblown petals it is a pleasure watching it bloom every year in the garden. Writingnag
Do you dream of having a cottage style garden?
I did, now I have an perennial herb garden in one part of a raised bed and I planted a traditional English style garden. The following flower pictures--both annuals and perennials have been my favorite to grow, not only because they are easy to grow in Colorado and specifically Colorado Springs but the flowers look beautiful together. Every year my garden changes and surprises me.
Unless noted otherwise all of these photos are my original photos taken over the years in my beautiful English cottage inspired garden. Whatever your motivation for having a green space make sure that you fill it with beautiful easy to grow flowers, herbs, plants and accessories you love and that make you feel good. The healing power of a garden is too good not to share.
Accessorize with garden decorations that enhance the space and make you feel good. I like to use up-cycled items that need a second life. We've hung vintage garden tools on the side of the garage that faces the back garden, found weathered chairs make great spots for container gardens, old wooden fruit and vegetable boxes hold spades and other tools. Metal sculpture and wind spinners add visual interest. This year we're adding a water feature to create another layer of sound.
There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.
— Mirabel Osler
Use Reference Books for Inspiration
What kind of flowers should I grow in my garden?
Grow what you love!
I get asked this question a lot by friends who are just starting out on planning their garden. I always tell them to brainstorm on what their favorites are. Do you like fragrant or flowers that climb? Do you like showy displays or delicate buds? What are your favorite colors? What plants are native to your climate? Consider your soil and how much time you have to devote to your garden.
Every year my garden surprises me...I didn't think I wanted sweet peas without fragrance but the wild sweet peas that cascade over the weathered fence is one of my favorite spots.
Consider going against what all the gardening books tell you and grow the garden you see in your mind. Put tall flowers in the middle instead of the back, grow a space with all black flowers or a moonlight garden...this year I saw this beautiful salmon colored poppy on a walk. I will be sure to include salmon poppies in my garden next year.
The Most Important Thing
These popular cottage garden flowers have grown well in my Colorado garden...for your garden check with local gardening groups, your neighbors, local gardening supply shops or do some Internet research. Other flowers to consider: Asiatic lilies, climbing flowering vines, hollyhock, foxglove, gladiolas, lupine, flowering trees...and more!
The Cottage Garden
Much of my garden is inspired by the English style Garden.This includes: old fashioned flowers that are highly scented, cutting gardens, herbs, a look of abundance, trellises, fences and natural elements. I also like bird houses, wind chimes and bird baths interspersed with unique up cycled garden art.
You may like to accessorize with fairy garden accessories, lanterns, natural garden paths and other old fashioned elements. It helps to make a rough sketch of what you want your space to contain and then build upon your plan every year.
While many people like the look of formality with perfect rows and counts, I love how the outdoor rooms seem to find their own paths. While I do a fair amount of weeding and cleaning up of beds, generally speaking it is easier to care for. Birds, butterflies, and bees seem to love it too!
Bright colors, fluted petals, double ruffled petals, tall strong stems these are just a few reasons why I love colorful cosmos. Oh and did I mention they are easy to grow.
Cosmos are annuals and perennials. Looking for a native flower? Think cosmos! These meadow flowers are common in the southern United States and in Mexico. In many parts of the United States they grow wild.
These delicate border plants (tiny flowers with rounded petals) spread out throughout the growing season, with the seeds dispersing by the wind. have a honey sweet fragrance and come in pastel colors. With names like Alyssum Carpet of Snow and Aladdin's Magic Carpet alyssum make a romantic addition to your cottage garden.
Alyssum is an annual. So you will have to plant seeds or buy alyssum plants every year.
Although snapdragons are perennials, I do buy snapdragon plants every year to fill in sections that have not naturally reseeded. My favorite colors are The Rocket Mix shown here. Snapdragons need plenty of sun and water. In a good growing season, depending what part of the country you live in they will still be blooming into September.
I love Sweet Peas so much they have garnered their own article. I love their old-fashioned charm and beauty and the way they climb makes them perfect for adding a sweet softness to your cottage garden. Perennial sweet peas generally have no fragrance but they grow quickly and add color and depth to a fence, arbor or lattice.
I look for old fashioned climbing roses and cabbage roses that are highly fragrant. Wind the vines around trellises, windows, fences for a romantic old fashioned look. Or search out cabbage roses for their overabundant fully formed petals.
Sweet William (Dianthus)
Sweet William are traditional additions they are easy to grown but they are a biennial meaning you won't see any flowers until the second year if you are growing them by seed.
Also called dianthus barbatus, sweet william are a perfect addition to any border or rock garden. They are low maintenance and add a carnation like fragrance to your garden. Look for sweet william in different shades of pinks, mauves, reds, white and bi-colors.
The Pincushion Flower
My favorite color of Scabiosa is the Ace of Spades, I've only been able to grow these from seed, most garden places don't carry this color. The dramatic black or dark purple flower is worth tracking down and growing from seed.
An added bonus: hummingbirds and butterflies love this beautiful flower!
The Dinner plate variety can grow more than two feet tall so I place the taller variety of dahlias in the back of a planting bed.
Grow from tuberous roots or buy smaller plants from your local garden center. Your cottage garden will benefit from the beauty and old fashioned charm. If you love home-grown flowers these are a must for your cutting garden. The varieties, colors and beauty are endless. Easy to grow, they need rich soil and sun and as a bonus they are usually the last flower that blooms in the fall giving you a show of color until winter.
Named for German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn, these bright colored long-stemmed flowers are members of the daisy family. Native to the Southwest United States, zinnias flourish. I love the strong hues and they make beautiful long lasting cut flowers.
Multi-colored dahlias look beautiful in a cottage garden
© 2012 Writing Nag
Do you have a cottage garden?
June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on July 25, 2014:
No, all I have is a balcony garden. Many things will not survive there, but I manage beautiful displays of petunias, geraniums and sometimes pansies. I love your lens. What beautiful flowers and pictures you have used.
Anna from chichester on July 25, 2014:
These are all beautiful! We're moving house soon and getting quite a large garden but it's a blank slate so I'm going to have to steal a few ideas from you if that's okay? :) I love sweet peas and snapdragons :)
Cecilia Karanja from Nairobi on June 25, 2014:
I love the climbing roses
ChocolateLily on June 16, 2014:
Not yet, but it would be a dream come true! Our garden is 'growing' very slowly. Your ideas are great!
acreativethinker on June 09, 2014:
My garden is full of a variety of flowers. Cottage gardens are so lovely! Thanks for sharing. Take Care :)
Maggie42 on May 29, 2014:
This is a beautiful lens just can't have too many flowers Thanks for sharing.
Writing Nag (author) from Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 19, 2014:
@GrammieOlivia: Thanks grammieo! I appreciate your time and the comment!
GrammieOlivia on May 19, 2014:
Oh yes and I have all your favorites in my garden too and a few more......lovely lens and it is now showcased on the Weekend Gardeners FB page too! Come on over and join us there too!
Dawn Romine from Nebraska on May 07, 2014:
I love gardening and we just bought a different house and have to start from scratch again. Peonies are some of my favorite and I love your photographs. Good job.
Writing Nag (author) from Colorado Springs, Colorado on March 26, 2014:
@paulahite: Thank you Paula!
Paula Hite from Virginia on March 26, 2014:
This makes me long for warmer days even more! It's also been featured on our Facebook page today! Come and check it out!
"The Green Thumb: A Place For Gardeners To Gather"
Marianne Gardner from Pacific NW, USA on March 02, 2014:
I've always loved the cottage garden look and the flowers that you show. Grown most of them over the years. Favorites! My garden doesn't perform how I like, always---too much rain, slugs, deer . . . i love to cater to hummingbirds and butterflies. Beautiful flower photos. Great to inspire!
AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on February 24, 2014:
TerriCarr on February 19, 2014:
I am too lazy to do much gardening....but I would like to do some charm-scaping....using little houses like the little fairy houses you have here. Love them!!
Snakesmum on December 24, 2013:
Don't really have a cottage garden, but do have foxgloves, white and purple violets, and roses. My front garden is mostly Australian natives. You've reminded me that I don't have zinnias! :-)
golfspice on September 24, 2013:
Yes, in the county of Oxfordshire in England. Despite a late spring everything has grown like mad this year, mainly because of our best summer for seven years. This has also led to a recovery in the number of bees and butterflies, after years of decline. You have a wonderful selection of cottage garden flowers in your Colorado garden.
Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on September 09, 2013:
Your gardens are beautiful and i really enjoyed visiting. I'd like a cottage garden, but our style is looser and more naturalized.
WinWriter on September 05, 2013:
Love all the flowers featured on your lens. The Dahlias are my favorite :)
MariaMontgomery from Central Florida, USA on August 28, 2013:
What a lovely lens. I really enjoyed it. You may enjoy my lens entitled, A Walk Through My Garden. You have some really nice lenses.
editionh on August 22, 2013:
We have garden, which is not exactly like a well kept cottage garden..
Dahlias are among my favorite flowers, but it is a lot of work to keep them well. As a lazy gardener I had best success with Hydrangea,Clematis,Columbine and of course Blackberry and nettle :).
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on August 10, 2013:
You are growing some of my favorite flowers in your beautiful cottage garden. I sure enjoyed my visit here.
blue22d on August 04, 2013:
Very lovely; I have enjoyed my visit.
Carol Houle from Montreal on July 28, 2013:
Never been successful with Sweet William, tho I love them, but the peony tree flowers are just stupendous in beauty and size. I will post a lens containing my photos of these ~the flowers are the size of a diner plate. Lovely lens. Thanks
shana273 on July 01, 2013:
I love flowers. I need a cottage garden.
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on June 25, 2013:
I love a peaceful, beautiful garden. Great flower choices in yours. Wonderful photos!
Rosanna Grace on June 12, 2013:
I love a good cottage garden. The climate and soil in my area is not conducive to such beautiful plants, although with a little TLC, lots of mulch etc I probably could achieve that look in a small pocket of my yard. Thanks for the inspiration. :)
anonymous on June 11, 2013:
Just saying thank you for liking my lens about my superhero. Have a nice day always
M E Derby on May 29, 2013:
Beautiful photos. It's too cold where I live to plant much outside, but your flowers are lovely to look at.
junkcat on May 25, 2013:
I have a garden and I like to plant all sorts of flowers.
Writing Nag (author) from Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 12, 2013:
@anonymous: Thanks so much for commenting! I love your book and now I'm looking for more xeriscape plants too because Colorado Springs is in drought conditions this year (living in Santa Fe I'm sure you know all about that!)
anonymous on May 12, 2013:
Thanks for listing my book as a reference on this great site! I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and am putting in a new cottage garden as I write, with xeric-adapted native and nonnative perennials and lots of container plantings. Cottage gardeners rule!
Gardener Don on April 28, 2013:
Peonies are pretty special for us as though grow so well in our short season, but they do seem to bloom just as the summer heavy rains come, then they are a bedraggled mess.
Jillynn on February 25, 2013:
I live in the desert so no cottage garden for me. I do miss peonies something awful!
Vikki from US on February 18, 2013:
I don't ...I have a few flowers planted around our yard and around our patio. These are beautiful! #blessed
Leila from Belgium on February 16, 2013:
This is a very pretty selection of flowers! I'll be planting some of them this year:-)
Thanks for blessing!
Melanie Wilcox from Pennsylvania, USA on February 14, 2013:
lovely lens :) I did for 15 years, but then I moved 6 months ago :( -got start it all up again :)
Alex-45 on February 14, 2013:
Those zinnias look lovely. I must try them!
Aunt-Mollie on February 14, 2013:
I have grown every one of these flowers except Scabiosa, so I absolutely agree with your choices.
Takkhis on February 14, 2013:
Lovely pictures and lovely lens! Blessed :)
mariacarbonara on February 09, 2013:
LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on February 02, 2013:
We have NZ natives in our garden but love cottage gardens
Maria Burgess from Las Vegas, Nevada on January 29, 2013:
No, but I have a few plants in containers on my balcony. These are all very pretty! Lucky you to have room to grow flowers. I like the statement about mixing herbs and flowers in a bed. That makes for a nice blend of textures and color. Congrats on the Purple Star for this lens! It definitely earned it! =)
Writing Nag (author) from Colorado Springs, Colorado on January 26, 2013:
@darciefrench lm: Thanks!
anonymous on January 20, 2013:
I love flowers
suepogson on January 17, 2013:
No - because the ducks would eat the flowers. I would love to though - beautiful photos.
KimGiancaterino on January 14, 2013:
We live on a former farm property that was used to grow dahlias back in the early 1900s. We don't have any in the garden now, but I will add a few when the weather warms up. I absolutely adore Cosmos!
Diva2Mom on January 11, 2013:
No, not yet, but I wish to have a cottage garden one day :). You inspire me more to make it happen, thank you! This lens is beautiful and great job! Fabulously-BLESSED by a little Squid Angel. God bless you sweetheart and huge hug! Muah!
darciefrench lm on January 04, 2013:
Returning to let you know I've featured this lovely flowers pictures lens on Pink Flower Pictures
Joanne Reid from Prince Edward Island/Arizona on January 03, 2013:
You have daisies, sweet peas and peonies!! Wonderful. I had a lovely huge garden and then had to move. I never really rebuilt that garden but plan to start again this spring....And it is going to be a long project but it is so much fun to think about!
Sheila from Omaha, NE on December 30, 2012:
I do! Of all my gardens it's the smallest, because my gardens are mostly shade. But I love it! Beautiful lens, blessed!
Susan R. Davis from Vancouver on December 28, 2012:
I love the garden concept and my new house finally has some room. I am gradually building up a garden to enjoy.
Bestbuyguide on December 28, 2012:
No, I do love to look at them but I prefer a patio and lawn.
Fay Favored from USA on December 27, 2012:
Ever since I visited England I have wanted a cottage garden. They are so beautiful and peaceful.
C A Chancellor from US/TN on December 25, 2012:
I'd love one -- I love peonies and dahlias and gerbera daisies.
Lyra Kua on December 18, 2012:
I don't have a cottage garden, but I'd love to have one.
Jo-Jackson on December 17, 2012:
No. My garden focuses on spring bulbs and I have very few summer flowering plants except roses as water is quite precious in summer where I live. I would love to have a cottage garden one day.
missBorokwa on December 16, 2012:
this is such an inspiring lens.i don't have a garden but i'm definitely going to try plant some flowers soon!
Iudit Gherghiteanu from Ozun on December 15, 2012:
i am working on this, i bought some seeds already.
David Stone from New York City on November 30, 2012:
No, but maybe soon. Flowers are the best luxury.
myraggededge on November 23, 2012:
I can almost smell your beautiful flowers! What a treat as a cold, dark, wet winter encroaches on us in the UK.
Deadicated LM on November 18, 2012:
Only in my mind's eye. Beautiful selection of flowers.
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on October 31, 2012:
No, but I wish I could! Your beautiful garden flowers were a wonderful sight on this dreary day. Blessings!
anonymous on October 28, 2012:
No, I've been devoting the last few years on developing a sustainable organic veggie garden. Your lens of flowers have uplifted me this morning - thanks! (Dahlias are my faves!)
Birdlady LM on October 25, 2012:
Summer cottage garden, that sounds diving. I wish I had one.
Angelina from California on October 24, 2012:
we were hit by a heat wave after I planted this year :( never got to see everything in full bloom...I'll try again though. Beautiful pics, very well done.
RedStone on October 23, 2012:
Very nice lens you have made,thank you!
Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on October 20, 2012:
I've had one, but it is overgrown with blackberry brambles now. Thanks for all the flower suggestions. I plan to start another cottage garden this spring.
GardenIdeasHub LM on October 19, 2012:
I love your cottage garden site. It is fun to see what others are doing with gardening.
anonymous on October 16, 2012:
No, but I certainly enjoy looking at pictures of them. Beautiful lens!
Melissa Miotke from Arizona on October 13, 2012:
I don't have a cottage garden or a cottage but I sure wish I did!
coolmon2009 lm on October 06, 2012:
I love flowers, nice lens
Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on September 25, 2012:
I did once upon a time. Now I am city bound with nothing but public parks for my garden hits. Thank you so much for this walk down memory lane. Zinnias are my favorite summer flower.
anonymous on September 24, 2012:
It is a great start of a day by reading this lens and admiring these beautiful flowers. Thanks.
teamlane on September 16, 2012:
All these flower pics make for a very pretty lens Writingnag! ~Colleen :)
Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on September 08, 2012:
What a beautiful choice of flowers. I love zinnias especially. They are so cheery. We have a lot of the same flowers except the scabiosa. I couldn't exactly figure them out from the photo, so I will check it out online - You have such lovely photos here. I enjoyed them very much! Angel blessings to you!
JoshK47 on September 08, 2012:
What splendid flowers - I wish I had a cottage garden to share with everyone! Blessed by a SquidAngel!
WhiteOak50 on September 05, 2012:
You have listed several of my favorite flowers. I have become fascinated with snapdragons these days. I have them potting up everywhere when I least expect it. Good work on this lens, with beautiful photos. *Blessed*
gottaloveit2 on September 03, 2012:
Gerber daisies are my absolute favorite. I only potted two plants this summer so am missing a bouquet. Beautiful article. Blessed.
gottaloveit2 on September 03, 2012:
Gerber daisies are my absolute favorite. I only potted two plants this summer so am missing a bouquet. Beautiful article. Blessed.
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on September 03, 2012:
No, I have a pot of lavender I'm trying to keep alive! But yours is lovely! You have some wonderful varieties in your cottage garden.
WriterJanis2 on September 02, 2012:
I wish I had one like your So beautiful. Blessed!
AstroGremlin on September 02, 2012:
I grow mostly fruits and vegetables, which to me are as beautiful as flowers. But I have to admit your classic varieties inspire planting an English style flower garden.
Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on September 02, 2012:
I have a Chinese garden of sorts with flowers that are not so common in China, but are ones I love. But I wouldn't mind having a cottage garden either! Blessings to you.
maryLuu on September 02, 2012:
Yes I have and many of these flowers are growing in my garden.
Sue Mah from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on September 02, 2012:
Love your collection.
PK_Squidoo on August 27, 2012:
I don't have a cottage garden, so I love enjoying yours virtually!
GeekGirl1 on July 09, 2012:
You have a lovely garden. The pictures look awesome, you captured the beauty of each flower.
Writing Nag (author) from Colorado Springs, Colorado on July 06, 2012:
@mbgphoto: thank you!
Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on July 01, 2012:
I don't.....but yours is really beautiful!!
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on July 01, 2012:
How I would love to have a cottage garden. Your featured flowers are gorgeous. I mostly have wildflowers on my country property and love their natural splendor. Right now the Rocky Mt. Bee Plant and sunflowers are bringing me great delight. Also, the Queen Anne's Lace is quite lovely. There's just something about the marriage of purple and yellow blossoms that makes my heart glad. You have created a spectacular oasis with your cottage garden. Is there anything more filling than spending some quality time in an old-fashioned garden? I think not.
JanezKranjski on July 01, 2012:
Beautiful flowers and garden ideas.
sarasentor lm on June 27, 2012:
So interesting lens, i really enjoyed. It deserve vote up.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on June 27, 2012:
More like a tropical garden, but I love the look and feel of a cottage garden too. They are simply charming!
CoeGurl on June 26, 2012:
Beautiful lens! I would love to have a cottage garden. Peonies are my favorite.
Sky-lab LM on June 25, 2012:
No I don't but I really like the flowers, especially the peonies and dahlias. And I just love the smell and appearance of carnations. Did you ever grow them?
darciefrench lm on June 11, 2012:
I have a small patio garden off of our apartment suite this year.
EnjoyLens on June 11, 2012:
Nicely done! Squidlike
Gayle Dowell from Kansas on June 04, 2012:
Beautiful flowers and wonderful lens on your cottage garden. My garden is a work in progress.
dcosmato lm on May 31, 2012:
I have a wildflower patch because hubby likes all the flowers and vegetables contained so he can mow around them, but I'd love to have a cottage garden someday. All the pictures are beautiful but those Gerber daisies are outstanding! I had no idea they were so gorgeous; I'll have to try some next year.
agoofyidea on May 31, 2012:
Your gardens are beautiful. I am the caretaker of a large garden so I know how much work you put into making your cottage garden so lovely. Nice job.