Cottage garden ideas can be found in many of the gardens open to the public. These include Open Garden Scheme Gardens and the many home gardens worldwide. One great source of cottage garden ideas is the National Trust of Great Britain.
The Arts and Crafts movement
The Arts and Crafts movement was an aesthetic movement started by designer, poet and reformer William Morris. In 1861 Morris founded the interior decorators and manufacturers Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company. Morris during his time studying Classics at Oxford University, became influenced by medievalism. The company was founded with a desire to capture the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. By the 1890s the influence of the movement had spread and become part of a growing international interest in design.
Cottage Garden ideas and the Arts and Crafts movement
American horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston created the Serre de la Madone garden in France and the Hidcote Manor garden in the Cotswolds in the UK. The Cotswolds had become a centre for the arts and crafts movement due to artists like Dante Rosetti and his friend William Morris moving out of smoggy London to the Cotwolds. The rural setting far from London with its beautiful scenery and idyllic lifestyle made it a magnet for the type of cottage industries that were part of the movement. At the time, local crafts and skills had not been overtaken by industrialisation. Architect Charles Robert Ashbee moved from London to Chipping Campden and set up factories in some rural buildings employing around 150 skilled craftsmen.
Hidcote Cottage Garden Design
The early parts of the Hidcote garden design were very much in line with the Arts and Crafts movement. Later parts of the design became a little more formal. As the garden is separated by hedges, stone walls or by geographic features, these very different garden design styles go together surprisingly well. The garden design concept was that the “rooms” of the garden were and extension of the architecture of the house itself.
Cottage Gardens often give the appearance of cheerful simplicity. In reality, the creator of the garden,Major Lawrence Johnston, was an avid collector of garden plants. The Major, went on exotic plant hunting expeditions to Yunnan, China in 1930 and South Africa in 1927 to find plants for his garden. The province of Yunnan in South West China has been the source of over 10,000 plants for western gardens.
The topiary hedges at Hidcote create interesting views, but also help to divide the garden into smaller garden rooms. Many of these rooms explore different garden design themes. Hidcote is a great place to visit for garden design ideas.
When viewed through a cut out in a hedge, the spectacular and colourful cottage style gardens create surprise and delight.
Some parts of the garden are a little more formal with neatly trimmed path edges.
The old garden looking back towards the house is a mass of cottage garden plants. Hidcote was the first purchase for the National Trust for the garden alone.
A great example of the use of quality craftsmanship is the garden steps created from hand crafted ceramic roofing tiles laid edgeways. Years of garden visitors has worn the edges of the tiles and given them even more character. These garden design features are typical of the arts and crafts movement.
Another more formal garden room. Dividing the garden up into smaller garden rooms makes it possible to explore different garden design themes within the same garden. Each room is like a small garden design in itself.
Cottage gardens have many different designs of garden paths. Ideally natural looking garden path materials should be used to create the cottage garden effect. There are many different ways of laying out your cottage garden path. The path can be a single main path with an outer path, crossed paths with an outer path, a diamond shaped path, or as in the picture above, an oval shaped path layout with a garden in the centre.
An example of the craftsmanship is the garden stairs made from ceramic roof tiles laid edgeways. These stairs lead to a terraced lawn which is also laid out like a separate room.
Some of the later garden designs at Hidcote were a little more formal, but still have a cottage appeal.
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