My English Cottage Garden Redux

My English Cottage Garden Redux

My English Cottage Garden Redux

Have you ever had a vision of creating something fantastic and the final outcome only registered a “blah”?  That’s precisely what happened when I bought my house in 2001.  I had just sold my townhouse because I had a dream of living in at least my version of an English Cottage Garden oasis and 300 square feet of outdoor space wasn’t going to cut it.

I needed something larger, something that would allow me to realize my vision of what a garden that was situated in the Cotswolds would look like.  Except, the location would end up being in a sleepy little town in North West Georgia.  I can’t say exactly what drew me to a little blue and white cottage but I knew that I wanted to buy it even before the realtor pulled up to the driveway.

English Cottage Garden

I knew the land that it sat on, as imperfect as it was, would be the perfect setting for achieving my dream.

It met all of my requirements: It had a basement, a deck, and a front porch.  The deal breaker would always be the porch.  As a lifelong southerner, it was imperative that I had somewhere to sit and people watch.  The best part is that it sat on one acre of land.  The yard was mostly remnants of what could be termed as grass but you could tell that the former owner had tried to add her own touch to it at some point.

There were two climbing roses on either side of the house, a hummingbird vine that engulfed the entire right side of the staircase and eight azaleas, that were in their infancy, were spread equally on either side.  Wisteria – something that I have tried to eradicate since I’ve been here and have failed miserably – covered the entire left side of the porch railings.  The entire property was surrounded by tall pines that have provided copious amounts of pine straw for my flower beds over the years.

English Cottage Garden

The wisteria on the left side of the house is the most invasive plant that I have ever dealt with. I was able to kill most of it, but not all. I’ve decided to live with what remains. It’s something that you would see in the type of garden that I wanted anyway. Lemons? Lemonade.

The problem was I had no idea how to go about creating this type of garden, so I ended up just planting whatever happened to pique my interest with no regard as to how it would fit into my original plans.  Eventually, I started to do research on the types of plants that would qualify as being the key components to an English Cottage garden and I have had some degree of success.  While there have been some definite wins:

Still, 14 years later, I find myself underwhelmed by my ‘progress’ and I have decided that this will be the year that I make substantial changes to the entire yard.  In order to remind myself what my original intention was, I have started a Pinterest board to inspire me and to keep me  organized and on track.

If you are experiencing a similar frustration: a failure to fulfill promises that you’ve made to yourself, I invite you to follow along with me as I detail how I plan to turn my yard into a renaissance English cottage garden.  Over the next few months, I will discuss and illustrate all of the changes that I make and if you happen to be a gardener too, I would love to hear your comments as well.

Wish me luck!



Renee King

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