Cottage Garden Plants to include in your home garden design include many of the flowering plants traditionally grown in cottage gardens. In the list below, we have included some of our favourite cottage garden plants for you to use in your design. Traditional cottage garden plants often had practical uses as well as their beauty. Historically many cottage garden plants had medical purposes or could be added to food as a preservative or flavouring. An example of this is the marigold which is often grown as a companion plant in cottage gardens. Marigold flowers can be used to create a soothing skin ointment. The Cottage plant list here is for the plant’s beauty and we are making no recommendations on food or medicinal purposes.
Our favourite cottage garden plants
The Buddleia, also known as Buddleja or butterfly bush, is a great plant for attracting butterflies to your home garden. This will in turn attract birds. Depending on the plant variety, buddleia can be deciduous, everygreen or semi-evergreen. Buddleja davidii (île de France), also known as the summer lilac, is famous for its ability to attract butterflies. The butterflies will love the large pointed sprays of violet, purple, blue or white flowers in late summer. This buddleia will grow to around 3 metres high with a 3-metre spread if left unpruned. Consider this plant for your cottage patio or as a background plant against a fence. As a feature plant, it can give your small garden greater depth. This plant will be deciduous in cold climates, but semi evergreen in warmer ones, so home garden microclimate might be a factor.
Red Admiral Butterfly on Buddleia. This is a great plant for attracting butterflies.
Nemesia is an early flowering annual with a great show from early summer through to Autumn. Nemsia will grow to around 300mm and is good for cottage garden beds and borders. There is a huge variety of colours available.
Blue Nemesia flowers.
An evergreen shrub with aromatic long narrow leaves. The leaves of the rosemary are excellent for flavouring and is a popular food flavouring herb. The shoots can be distilled to make an essential oil. This slow growing plant can grow as high as 2 metres tall, but there is a dwarf variety available. Small blue rosemary flowers appear intermittently in clusters from Spring until Autumn. Rosemary prefers a sunny position in well-drained soil.
An attractive garden plant as well as a tasty herb. Rosemary is a great choice for your cottage garden.
Roses have been cultivated for thousands of years and have long been prized for their scent and beauty. No cottage garden should be without one. As well as beauty and adding scent to home gardens, roses have been grown in cottage gardens for their fruit, known as rosehips, from which syrups and teas can be made.
The rose is a popular and versatile cottage garden plant.
Bedding roses can be grown as a herbaceous border in well-drained soil. Try combining these with lavender for an aromatic sensory home garden. The etheric oils in the lavender will also help to repel pests.
Climbing roses can be grown over an arch to create a stylish and fragrant welcome for visitors. They are also effective in your cottage garden for growing on trellises or walls and can help to make a small garden appear larger. Climbing roses are varieties bred for their vigorous growing habits.
Shrub roses look great as the back of a garden border. They can also be used as a feature or garden focal point. Always grow in a sunny location with good drainage. Prune regularly to ensure there is good air circulation to help prevent black spot.
The wallflower is a late spring, early summer flowering biennial bedding plant. Also known as cheiranthus, wallflowers are members of the brassica family. Like most brassicas, the wallflower will reward you with a colourful and fragrant show of flowers. Most wallflowers will grow to around 45 cm and are available in a range of colours. From the brilliant scarlet “Fire King” to the yellow “Cloth of Gold” and every colour in between. Like most Brassicas, wallflowers will like some added garden lime in the soil.
For smaller areas, there is a dwarf variety available that grows up to around 22cm.
Salvia Leucantha Cottage Garden Plants
Salvia is a bushy plant with brightly coloured terminal bracts of white, purple, pink or blue. This is a great plant for your cottage garden border. Mexican bush sage or Salvia Leucantha is an Autumn flowering perennial which can add colour to your Melbourne cottage garden. As a bonus, salvias are generally drought tolerant and are well suited to Melbourne’s temperate climate. Salvias are also pet friendly.
More information on Cottage Garden Plants
For more information on Roses – The Royal Horticultural Society