Cool Member
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Browns Mills, New Jersey
Contact: Yahoo Messenger AOL

Country Cottage Theme Perennials

Hi Everyone!

This fall we're going to prepare the space between our picket fence and the road to put in a flowerbed. I want to pick country cottage type plants for it since we have a white picket fence around the yard with an arbor.

So far I've thought of the following:
Creeping Phlox

I've always admired these types of gardens, but I'm pretty clueless on what type of plants are usually planted in there. We have a lot of butterflies around here, so anythign butterflies would like would be a bonus too. We can't fit in a butterfly bush unfortunately, otherwise I would be putting one in too. And height wise anything from a few inches to 4ft tall is great. I live in Zone 6b too. The area is about 3ft - 3 1/2 wide and 10ft - 15ft long that we'll be planting in.

And I also want to put in bulbs this fall, besides the usual tulips and daffodils any recommendations? maybe hycanths? And where are good places to buy bulbs? I didn't pay attention last year at the nursey as to whether they sold bulbs or not. I'm going to be putting in a ton of bulbs this fall in all the flowerbeds, so for the usual crocus, tulips and daffodils I'm hoping to buy in bulk to save a little money. if it doesn't affect the quality of the bulbs of course.

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:50 pm
Location: Riverton, WY

If you have not garderned in your area before, before you plant anything, take a walk around your neighborhood, and see what is growing! Ask your neighbors what does really well for them.(They may be willing to share there best plants!) Go to the local nurseries and ask what their top sellers are. Cottage gardens are different through out the country. Here in Wyoming, plants for a cottage garden are sedum, daylilies, hollyhocks, and peonies. These are plants I am unable to kill and they insist on returning each year. :lol: I would image New Jersey has different palnts that refuse to die. Good luck!

Senior Member
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:47 am
Location: Greater Toronto Area-zone 4-5


I grew up in the country and I always think of it, and see it in the country. In my garden here I have pink and yellow. You probably know that the wild version is mostly white, but I think country road when I see it..

same as blue aster and ditch lily (orange)

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2036
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:58 pm
Location: Michigan--LP(troll)

How about larkspur--the single variety not the double? Asclepias comes in at least three colours and if planted in blocks or patches about 2-3' wide, will attract butterflies. Phlox (go for the mildew-resistant varieties), peonies (get the planting depth right), Lilacs (the korean varieties are more well-behaved than their common cousins; also look for the MacFarlane/Canada Gem types; Japanese tree lilac for height w/o taking up a lot of space, and huge panicles of flowers in June); coreopsis Moonbeam; Perovskia/russian sage; creeping & upright sedums--many have coloured or variegated foliage; maybe an Austin rose or two--the ones with the cabbage-head flowers? Are you near the ocean, where salt spray or in the soil is a factor? Some plants definitely don't like salt--junipers for instance. I have daylilies on a slope facing the road, salted every time it snows, and they come back for more. Echinacea, bee balm, will attract butterfiles and maybe hummers! Salvia. Snapdragons--the Rocket variety grows really tall. Marigolds for fill-in--come in all sizes and hot colours, and cream. The advice about chatting up the neighbours is excellent. My grandma planted tulips and daffs and 20 years later they still came up enough for me to find and take care of them. I have no idea of their names, but look for "heirloom" varieties from the early 20th century. Go for small bulbs too, and allium spp for summer colour. Interplanting daffs w/other bulbs will tend to spoil the squirrel's appetite. It keeps them from digging up all my other bulbs, now they only get some! :lol:

Happy Gardening

Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:40 am
Location: New Jersey

[url=https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v318/gardenz/DSCN1117.jpg][img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v318/gardenz/th_DSCN1117.jpg[/img][/url]I'm in N.J. also and not far at all from Browns Mills. My garden is "cottage style" as well.

One thing to keep in mind is what plants are "safe" to plant in your area. By "safe"...I mean: how deer resistant are they? Since no plant is entirely and 100% deer-proof if they're hungry enough, I've learned that short of an 8' fence (which I can't do because my gardens are so spread out), the next best thing is to avoid plants on Bambi's menu and/or to use a deer repellant spray on a regular basis. Just make sure you change brands every so often. They get used to the odor of one after awhile and it tends to loose it's complete effectiveness.

Of the plants on your list, I've found deer to be particularly fond of roses and coneflowers. They'll avoid most all herbs, and there's lots of flowering herbs out there. Salvias (or sages) come in a wide selection and form, so I try to incorporate as many perennial varieties as I can. (Perovskia or Russian Sage being just one.) Yarrows, as was suggested, are excellent choices. I've never had any of my ornamental grasses bothered by them. Many varieties are within a size range for your smaller area. Foxgloves, aka Digitalis (a cottage mainstay) are also avoided as they're poisonous.

And, "yes", you can have a buddleia (butterfly bush) if you prune it judiciously throughout the season. I've got ones that are 15' tall and others I've keep only 3 or 4'. The panicles will be smaller, but more numerous and the bush will be "tighter".

Bulbs? Again...critters! :( I'd avoid tulips and hyacinths unless you can plant them in pots which you can sink in the ground and cover w/screening. Squirrels and chipmunks favor digging up those bulbs, and don't use bonemeal when planting them since bonemeal has been found to actually attract the critters & aid their locating them. Again, once they do bloom, you'll have to spray. Deer love the flowers as do rabbits. But, daffs are foolproof. I've planted drifts of them in many areas and they've never been touched. Daffs & their foliage are poisonous and the critters seem to know this. Alliums (giant globes down to small, blue-flowered garlic chives) are also great and avoided by your four-footed neighbors.

I get my bulbs mostly at one of the Big Box stores. Specialty bulbs, I order from Van Engellen (?) or Bluestone Perennials.

Good luck w/your cottage garden. I love the style because, short of deer/woodchuck/rabbit & vole intervention, they provide the widest parameters for varieties of plants from which to choose. You can be as eclectic as Mother Nature allows you to be. :)

User avatar
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1023
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:50 pm
Location: England

Don't forget the herbs!!! No cottage garden is complete without; Thyme, Fennel, Oregano, Marjoram, Lavender, Rosemary and (my favourite edger) Alchemilla mollis.

Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:40 am
Location: New Jersey

Ah, yes. :D How could I overlook alchemilla? Can't tell you how many people to whom I've recommended this plant to. I especially love how the raindrops and morning dew collect on the leaves and glisten like diamonds. The pouffy chartreuse plumes it shoots up are almost redundant...but welcome! Do include this plant in any style garden.

User avatar
Senior Member
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:36 pm
Location: Northwest Arkansas

I didn't read all the posts as they were quite lengthy, but I have some suggestions based on past experience. Shasta daisies are wonderful for cottage gardens. Look for ones with moderate height, under 36" is preferable since they tend to fall over in the heat and humidity. Black eyed susans are wonderful as well as coneflowers. I have also used hydrangeas and butterfly bushes to add structure. Another favorite is bee balm, which can be invasive, but with a little care is easy to maintain. And I don't think you can beat zinnias, I like the taller ones as I love a messy country look in a cottage garden. We moved 2 years ago and my husband (the neat one) helped design my very traditional, structured garden and I am constantly missing my very messy but adorable cottage garden....you guessed it, I'm the creative one....Good luck! :D

Return to “Perennials”