What is a Cottage Garden?

greatlakes3(z5 MI)January 1, 2013

A bit of Cottage Garden history: The cottage garden has its roots in 18th century England. The cottage-dwelling folk relied on their gardens to supply the family's needs, so the cottage garden was practical and productive. It included a variety of plants (and animals!) used for food, medicine, and dyes. The cottager's small plot allowed for no wasted space, so the garden was abundantly packed, yet well-tended. Fences and hedges were often used to keep the livestock out of the vegetables. Cottagers planted what they knew would work, often using plants passed along by neighbors.

The contemporary Cottage Garden: Our modern interpretation of this old style takes many forms. There are no hard and fast rules, but a few general principles:

  • Variety
  • Abundance
  • Informality

Some might argue that it's not a cottage garden without a fence (or a hedge, or a particular plant, etc.). But this style allows for plenty of interpretation, allowing for differences in climate, surroundings, and preference.

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