jennymisek
Full Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 6:12 pm
Location: zone 4 Central Wisconsin

English or Cottage style gardens

I am interested in designing an area on the side of my garage that will resemble an old style garden. Cottage and English come to mind. I am looking for the area to have blooms or leaf color all season, and I would love for the plants to just flow together. Another goal for the area is to provide a blind to a neighboring house.

I live in zone 4, east central Wisconsin. Does anyone have any ideas for plantings, websites to look at or even better some pre-made designs?

Thanks for your help in advance!

Jenny

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Well before getting all excited about what to plant, I would recommend working on the soil that you will be planting in first. The reason being, health soil means healthy plants. And with healthy, biologically active soil; whatever you plant will just take off and be very healthy. Thus helping to achieve "flow" much easier.

Anyway, the is the reason why I recommend on working on the soil first and here is what to do;

Dig the soil up and bury mulched leaves, manure, kelp meal or if you live near a coast seaweed, grass clippings, coffee grounds (available from coffee shops) and so on. Lay the compostables down in layers. A layer of manure, a layer of leaves, a layer of cofee grounds, a layer of leaves, a layer of grass clippings, a layer of leaves. Cover it all with soil and either plant your plants or even better, just let it sit until next spring.

Do this, and you will have strong, vigorous (sp?), healthy plants for years to come.

Good luck with your undertaking.

jennymisek
Full Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 6:12 pm
Location: zone 4 Central Wisconsin

Thanks Opabinia51 for the response. I do plan on planting next spring (2006) so the plan for the area this year was to deveop the planting plan and as you said, work on the soil in the late summer or fall.

I don't live near a coast, central WI is about as far as one can get from a coast. However I do have a lawn that needs mowing as well as trees that will drop their leaves, and many of them. I can till up the soil and just make a big ole heap until I have enough to do the layers like you said.

I was thinking about doing a soil test before I start all this to see where I am at. What do you think?

Also how many layers or how deap would you go with the layers? 6-8"

Thanks for your help!

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Hi Jenny,

Geez, I'm really burning the midnight oil on this site today! Anyway, yes I have a friend from Wisconsin. I know where it is, beautiful state. Yes, the Kelp meal would help as well.

You can also do the trench technique that I described in the organic gardening area. Do that first and then make your above soil layers a few inches high at most. Having the entire lasagna bed a foot high seems to work best. At least that is what I have found.

Doing a soil test won't hurt.

And you may wish to grow a cover crop on the top of any lasagna beds that you do. The roots of the crop will help to break down the comostables and also create air pockets in the new soil. If you use legumes like clover or others, they will also assist bacteria in fixing Nitrogen into the soil.


Keep us posted as to how your soil/garden building tasks are going! I hope someone can provide you with information on plants to use. I don't know about cottage gardening but, I'm a huge fan of Daylilies.

jennymisek
Full Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 6:12 pm
Location: zone 4 Central Wisconsin

I have found that when I get thinking about something it is very hard to quit!

I will look in the other area for the trench technique. A question about a cover crop...if I plant clover for example, what is to stop it from taking over the rest of the lawn that is suppose to stay as lawn?

As for plants, I found a neat layout (free garden designs) on the Better Homes and Garden site, they have an example of a large lush cottage garden.

The plant stores around here don't have a lot of the flowery perennials, they have more of the standard ones that people put on the fronts of their houses. Ones that have a lot of open ground area around them, and have more of a formal look. I am going to go against the grain and fill in my open areas with some great flowering perennials!

When it comes time to purchase the plants I will go off of the planned list, and make some small changes due to size limitations and plant availability! I am looking forward to it though!

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I guess we are two garden peas in the same pod because, I have migrated back to the site just before shutting down for the night.


Yes, Clover as a cover crop. I seeded it into my Veg garden last February and haven't had a problem with it spreading, you just have to be careful as to where you put the seeds. But, if you are leary about clover, Rye works well. It's a great Fall/winter crop. Mow it several times and then turn it under. Fava Beans are another great cover crop that I am going to try this year along with Rye. They are legumes so, not only do you get the added organic matter, the plants also assist in Nitrogen fixation. And you get those lovely buttery beans just before you turn the plants into the soil next spring!
Gotta love those flowering perennials! Solidago is nice, it also attracts beneficial insects it is aka Goldenrod. Angellica is neat looking but, it is done by June. But, I'm sure you have specific cottage plants that you will want to plant. Have fun!

jennymisek
Full Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 6:12 pm
Location: zone 4 Central Wisconsin

Not sure how I am going to sleep tonight! I have this garden just running through my head. I am going to incorporate a few raised vegetable beds in this mix too.

I just came inside from my second trip outside in pitch black with a tape measure to get some rough dimensions. It looks like the area will be an L shape that is 45 feet long and 24 feet wide at the widest, and 12 feed wide at the narrowest, if that makes sense.

I will dedicate around a 12 ' x 11' section of the bottom corner of the L for the raised vegetable beds...

Oh I am so excited! Now I need the darn retaining wall to be done, and I can start doing some serious dimensions.

Thanks for the plant suggestions, I will keep them handy when I start doing the selection. The plan I am working off of is an L but only 25 feet long and 23 feet wide at the widest, and 6 feet at the narrowest. So I have a lot of area yet to cover!

I love Elephant ear plants and they like shade and moist soil so I will need to watch the sun for a few days to see what area would get shade...

Another area I would like to fit in would be a grass corner!

So not sure if it will be a cottage garden or if it will be a collage (spelling?) garden of my likings!

Good night Opabinia51!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

You guys play real nice! :D

OPa is SO correct about the soil considerations; should be the top of the list. Then plant selection. Hardy plants that will live for you (Colocasia is NOT on that list.) Look for Gertrude Jekyll's designs for great ideas on cottage borders (she's the queen). Just remember to check your zone against the plants...

HG

Return to “Landscaping”