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Early summer view from our front door over the pond to the lilac tree
Floral visions

- summer

You've finished designing your garden so now you want to get stuck into the real thing, right?

It's time build your very own cottage garden.

Yes, granted, it's a lot of work, but if you follow the step-by-step guide outlined below, you'll at least avoid the pitfalls we fell into and be able to invest your labour as efficiently as possible.

What Makes a Cottage Garden?

Before we start, let's think a moment about what makes a cottage garden.

Flowering plants, flowers, fruit and herbs make a cottage garden - it's as simple as that.

They, and the bees, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife who cannot resist their invitation, are what cottage gardens are all about, not the benches, patio and other "hardware".

Always remember that, no matter how well-organized and creative your garden plan is, you will always have too many plants as:

Work Guide and Plan

This is the mucky part - follow our practical guide and you'll end up with garden soil that's ready for planting. It'll all be worth it, we promise you.

  1. Climate and soil: Before you begin to dig out your garden layout, learn about the soil and the climate where you live, and their role in a thriving garden - as well as our opinion on what the essence of a cottage garden is.
  2. Preparation: Digging, clearing and re-cycling - fear not, you only have to do it once. As organic gardeners, we don't believe in disturbing topsoil unless absolutely necessary - and our backs agree too!
    • Got waterlogged soil? Start here and build a drainage sinkhole system the natural way. You'll be able to recycle a lot of the stone materials you found while preparing the soil for your future garden. A very tedious job, but the result is permanent - and it works! If you haven't got a mud bath out back, skip this part and start building your garden paths.
    • Cottage garden path 1: Layout and preparation - you laid out the contours of your garden paths while digging and clearing in the soil preparation phase, right? Now it's time to prepare them for construction.
    • Cottage garden path 2: Construction - now you're going to complete a network of paths that'll last for many years with very little maintenance required.

So What's Next?

More hard work and a lot of patience (and the odd curse or two) - let's move on and add features to your cottage garden.

At last you can start turning your design objectives into reality. - a Gardener's Practical Guide to Natural Cottage Gardening

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