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My English Cottage Garden Redux
Have you ever had a vision of creating something fantastic and the outcome only registered a “blah”? That’s precisely what happened when I bought my house in 2001. I had just sold my townhouse and had a dream of living in an English Cottage Garden. Three-hundred square feet of outdoor space wasn’t going to cut it.
I needed something more substantial that would allow me to realize my vision of a garden in the Cotswolds. Except, the location would end up being in a sleepy little town in North West Georgia. I can’t say 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.
a shaky start
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 looked like grass. But you could tell that the former owner had tried to add her touch to it at some point.
There were two climbing roses on either side of the house and a hummingbird vine engulfed the entire right side of the staircase. 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 – covered the entire left side of the porch. The whole property was surrounded by tall pines that have provided copious amounts of pine straw for my flower beds over the years.
learning from past mistakes
The problem was I had no idea how to go about creating this type of garden. So, I ended up planting whatever piqued 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. I have had some degree of success. While there have been some definite wins:
Still, fourteen years later, I find myself underwhelmed by my ‘progress’. 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 and keep me organized.
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!