Wednesday, May 22, 2024 May 22, 2024
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An English Cottage Garden

Inspiration: Chelsea Physic Garden in London, England

Carefree and flowing, the English cottage garden boasts an informal design and a plethora of flowers. Exuding grace and charm, it’s the antithesis of the formal French garden. “Gertrude Jekyll initiated the cottage garden style, which is characterized by a billowing overabundance of perennials, roses, and shrubs that appear naturally occurring but [in reality] are carefully maintained,” says Patrick Boyd, senior design associate for David Rolston Landscape Architects. “Texture, form, and spatial relationships are also very important.”

Water features, birdbaths, and small sculptures add the finishing touches. “They act as the reinforcer of structure, which is necessary in all gardens, to help direct the eye,” Boyd explains.

from left: Classic dining chair, to the trade/David Sutherland; Fruit branch planter, $55/Jacksons Home & Garden; “Limoni” planter, $376/Jacksons Home & Garden; Antique british urn, $2,500/Aidan Gray; fruited planter, $600/Pittet Architecturals


To create an English garden of your own, Boyd suggests the following plants:


Dave’s Take

Dave Forehand, vice president of gardens at the Dallas Arboretum, shares his reflections.

“In England, you will find beautiful clipped hedges, and it’s usually Taxus [buccata], which is English yew. It won’t grow in Texas, but a great alternative is holly,” says Forehand. “Dwarf Burford, Needlepoint, and Oak Leaf can create that perfect [clipped] backdrop for all the flowering and evergreen plants that make up your English border.” The Arboretum’s Boswell Family Garden and McCasland Sunken Garden are prime examples of English gardens.