Now the snow is beginning to thaw and we can actually see the grass outside again, let’s brighten our week with thoughts of sunny spring gardens. When it comes to style, chic and minimalist is all very well, but not all of us want our gardens to look like a polished Scandinavian interior. Cottage-style gardens are still very much on trend, as contemporary designers retrace the fashions of the early 20th century, focusing on flowers, natural materials, and traditional crafts. For a tranquil garden steeped in romance, follow these tips to create the look…
Firstly, book a ticket to this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show for inspiration. The Artisan Gardens are a good place to start your tour, where you’ll find rustic designs packed with ideas. I’ve had a sneaky peak at Maggie Hughes and Kati Crome’s design for the show, which promises to be a real treat for plant addicts. The ladies won a gold medal in 2011 for their stunning ‘A Postcard from Wales’ garden (below) and are returning this year with a design for the National Botanic Gardens of Wales called ‘Get Well Soon’, inspired by medicinal herbs and flowers.
Add big, blowy blooms
Roses are a must for a romantic cottage garden, and the best place to find the right one for your design is David Austin’s website. My favourites include the rich pink ruffled flowers of ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ (below) and subtle peachy-cream ‘Wollerton Old Hall’, ideal for a pastel-themed border. Blend your roses with billowing perennials like these blue hardy geranims, white rosebay willow herb (posh name – Epilobium) and some alliums, which produce purple-flowered globes in May and these spiky round seedheads after they’ve bloomed.
Create a seating area surrounded by scented blooms
I love to look at the intricate details of my flowers up close and the perfect way to do this is to plant a seat in your flowerbed and surround it with blooms. A hard wood bench, such as this one by Alexander Rose will age naturally to a delicate silvery grey colour, which blends perfectly with plants of any colour.
Enjoy old-fashioned arts and crafts
Handmade garden features and sculptures are most definitely back in fashion, with Arts and Crafts-style gardens enjoying a renaissance. Dry-stone walls are de rigueur among the gardening glitterati, and provide a natural, textured backdrop to flowerbeds, as well as a home for hibernating insects. I also love the look of willow sculpture, such as this deer created by the very talented Emma Stothard (top).
While away evenings by candlelight
As the sun sets, maintain a tranquil atmosphere by threading a few candles through the garden. We have some gorgeous candleholders and garden lanterns this week at ACHICA, with lots of designs to choose from. Lanterns with coloured glass look great both day and night, throwing spangles of red, blue and green on to paths and table tops, while classic wooden styles offer an understated natural look, washing surfaces with soft candlelight.
For beautiful furniture, accessories and daily design ideas for your home and lifestyle,
shop at ACHICA.
Zia Allaway, Garden Expert
View all posts by Zia Allaway, Garden Expert