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Ask a Pro Q&A: Starting an English Cottage Garden

Garden season is here and we can’t wait to fill our backyards with flowers, sculptures, and so much more! Hope A. in South Carolina is a garden-lover and wants to style her yard after an English cottage garden. We loved the idea so we sent her question to Dream Team member and outdoor design expert Carson Arthur for his best advice, because the more you know, the more you grow!

Ask a Pro Q&A: Starting an English Cottage Garden -

Q: I would love to have a cottage garden in front of my home here in South Carolina! Unfortunately, my house is built on a slab and the garden area is mostly in the shade. Right now I’m growing dwarf gardenias, hosta, calla lilies, astilbe, Japanese painted ferns princess lily, and colocasia. The current plants are dispersed throughout the space and look sparse even though the space is small. What can I do to bring my garden together and create an English-inspired look? Thanks!

-Hope A.

A: Everyone always assumes that an English cottage garden is all about the cute plants. The truth is, this style of garden started in part because of the terrible rocky soil that they were grown on. It sounds like you have lots of plants, but now it’s time to start adding the rocks! You can create extra depth in the garden using large and small stones. Consider building tiers using the stones as well. Just make sure to go with moss-covered rocks or rocks that are clearly aged. There are two crucial things to remember when adding rocks to the landscaping. First, the bottoms of the rocks should be under the level of the soil so that they look like they have always been there. Next, plant in the pockets of the stones… just like you would see in nature! Happy gardening!

-Carson A.