Gardening Gurus around the world might not call my garden a Cottage Garden, but what do they know?! It’s a happy mix of wildflowers, annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, roses, shrubs and trees. I have planted lettuce as a border in a wildflower bed and tuck purple basil in with perennials to break up all that green. My plants are all carefully chosen to suit my needs. So, if I want to call it a cottage garden, why can’t I?
I’ve spent the past eight years making mistakes, like trying to grow a lemon tree the year we had four ice storms in April and planting Azaleas in my clay soil. But those mistakes were invaluable to me. They’ve taught me which plants do well in my little garden with the least amount of work on my part. I’ve learned which plants need boot camp to fit in and which ones had to receive tearful Dear John letters.
Cottage Garden My Way
Before we get to the list, you need to know I based this list on blooming plants that do well in my Central Oklahoma Zone 7 kingdom. I’ve had to amend my soil in spots due to the heavy clay that torments me.
I’m sad to say that I can be a lazy and somewhat cheap gardener, so there are more perennials than annuals and shrubs are used to fill in blank spots. I depend on heat and drought tolerant plants because I hate to water in the dark. I love to garden, but unfortunately, my time is limited, so I need plants that can take care of themselves once I get them through infancy.
Also, I want to mention, some of these plants may be an annual in your area, so check with a local nursery. So, are you ready? Here is the list of my 15 favorite flowering plants in my cottage garden.
1. Lavender – French, Spanish, English….I hold no bias. I love lavender. It requires good drainage, full sun, and a little water. I mix; pea gravel, compost, sand in with my soil when planting.
2. Rosemary – Another herb that I love! And did you even know it blooms? Rosemary likes heat but hates the extreme cold.
3. Tickseed – or Coreopsis for those who don’t know this regional name. This is a great drought tolerant plant that blooms throughout the summer. But that first wave of blooms in the spring is fantastic.
4. Coralbells – For my shady areas, which as my trees continue to grow, keeps getting bigger and bigger. Beautiful flowers, but honestly it’s the leaves that get me!
5. Dianthus – One of my “go to’s” for edging a bed. Although it comes back some years, it is mostly an annual for me. And I love the different varieties, something new each year.
6. Iris – or Flags. I can’t imagine any garden of mine without them. My grandmother began my Flag love affair. Be sure and check out all the varieties available, but I tend to choose the all white and all purple blooms. I like being predictable.
7. Geraniums – What can I say? I probably spend more money on geraniums each year than anything else. One of my favorite Nurseries in my area has a huge greenhouse dedicated to all things Geranium.
The List – Part 2
8. Lantana – This is my spreader! I can plant Lantana at the base of pots or notty kneed roses and let them do their thing. They also look great in baskets and clay pots.
9. Russian Sage – Another herb that should get more attention. I love the delicate airiness of Russian Sage as well as its height, and it’s resemblance to Lavender.
10. Phlox – Need I say more?
11. Roses – If you want a cottage garden you need roses. Although I know they aren’t as popular with rose snobs, I don’t have the time anymore to baby my roses, so I choose to buy the Knock Out variety. I have never had to deal with mildew, blackspot or pests. Although I will admit, I honestly miss my David Austin Roses.
12. Salvia – I have more varieties of this plant than any other. So easy to grow, both heat and drought tolerant. And so beautiful, especially the Black & Blue Salvia.
13. Coneflower – Oh yes, a cottage garden must have echinacea. And the “White Swan” variety planted with another of my favorites, Russian Sage makes me swoon.
14. Bee Balm – A pollinator plant with great beauty. I plan to plant waves of them in the future.
15. Blanket Flower – drought tolerent, heat resistant, bloomer. An all round champ in my garden.
The Runners Up
This was just my list of favorite bloomers. I have a list of shrubs, trees, herbs, annual, perrenials, veggies for a mixed bed, vines and groundcovers. These 15 are by no means all the bloomers in my garden, they are just the ones that I will always plant wherever I end up in life. So what do you think? Did I mention your favorite? Leave me a comment and share yours as well! I’m always ready to be convinced to plant something new!