Up Close & Personal With My Cottage Garden Plants

July 23, 2013
Yesterday I shared labelled photos of my front yard cottage garden to give you an idea how I achieved the cottage garden style that I love.  That post is here.

Since I planned out my garden to achieve a "full bloom" look from late June through early August, most of my perennials were blooming in the photos.  Another way I manage the "full bloom" look is using annuals that bloom all summer.

Here is a close up look at the flowers in my zone 3 garden, and what I like and dislike about them, and a 1-10 rating.

Plant Key:  

1.  Creeping Baby's Breath (P)  - I love the long bloom time, the non-invasive slow spread, and the airy light blossoms.  This perennial blooms from mid June through early July. Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Creeping Baby's Breath

2.  Vera Jameson Sedum (P) - I am a sedum lover.  They are for the most part non-invasive and work in almost any soils and in full sun to part sun.  My only complaint is a late bloom time of this particular species.  Overall rating (6).
Cottage Garden - Vera Jameson Sedum

3.  Stella d'Oro Daylily (P) - This perennial received a lot of hype a few years ago in connection with it's long bloom time.  I like it but I don't love it. Many daylilies are much prettier.  Overall rating (6).
Cottage Garden - Stella D' Oro

4.  Blue Chips Bellflower (P) - Super little front of the border plant.  Long bloom time, slow spreading, and few problems.  Deadheading keeps its appearance neat.  One of my favorites.  Overall rating (10).
Cottage Garden - Blue Chips Campanula

5.  Supertunia Raspberry Blast (A) - An extremely showy supertunia hybrid.  Lots of deadheading, can become leggy in late summer, but a showstopper in its prime time. Overall rating (7).
Cottage Garden - Trailing Petunia

6.  Asiatic Lily (P) - I love Asiatic lilies.  These lilies have been in my garden so long that I don't remember the name.  The only downside is the die down stems of lily bulbs can be somewhat unsightly so plant something in front of the dying foliage.  Overall rating (10).
Cottage Garden - Asiatic Lilies

7.  Purple Coneflowers (P) - A perennial I originally started from seed and later added a Magnus bedding plant.  Dependable, non invasive, and beautiful.  A cottage garden favorite. Overall rating (9).
Cottage Garden - Purple Coneflowers

Here, a white coneflower attracts both a butterfly and a honey bee at my cousin's garden.

8.  Dropwort Filapendula (P) - This is a free plant from my cousin.  Fern leaves and a profusion of small white blossoms held high above the plant stems.  One bloom period is over and plant is preparing for second flowering.  Overall rating (7).
Cottage Garden - Dropwort Filapendula

9.  Purple Verbena (A) - Some deadheading required, but I prefer the trailing style of verbena in the front of the border to sweet alyssum.  Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Trailing Verbena

10. Ponytail Grass (A) - I have purchased Mexican Feather grass for the last few years.  I love the swaying in the breeze, and also the dried grass in fall gardens.  Here it is planted in a milk can top. Overall rating (7).
Cottage Garden - Pony Tail Grass

11. Tall Pink Asiatic Lilies (P) - Also some clearance priced Asiatic Lily bulbs I purchased long ago that become gorgeous blooms every year.  Overall rating (10).
Cottage Garden - Asiatic Lilies

12. Globe Thistle (P) - I got these from a neighbor many years ago and have shared it with many a gardening friend.  The slow spreading, very tall, periwinkle colored blossoms are a favorite of bees and garden admirers alike.  Spreading quite slowly, I have it in three areas, digging out a new new starts for new and long time gardeners every year.  Overall rating (9).

Bees love Globe Thistle.  If you are trying to attract bees to your garden, Globe Thistle will do it!

13. Whirlybird Nasturium (A) - I plant either Whirlybird or Alaskas.  Prolific bloomer and a show stopper.  Nasturiums can be grown from seed in areas with longer growing seasons.  I buy bedding plants here in Minnesota.  They must be deadheaded to look their best.  Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Nasturium

14.Cushion Spurge (P) - The only plant in my cottage garden being removed next year.  Why?  A very early bloom time, not like the other summer perennials, and I discovered the plant had crowded my yellow Asiatic lilies this year, and they will not bloom.  The plant continues to grow all summer and has shaded some lilies. Overall rating (3).

15. White Chips Bellflower (P) - A favorite in my garden just like the Blue Chips Bellflower.  A little less showy than the blue.  Overall rating (9)
Cottage Garden - White Chips Bellflower

16. Pink Moss Roses (A) - I love moss roses.  I planted them in a double decker funnel planter this year (two funnels).  I think they are pretty but maybe prefer last year's lantana funnel.  Easy to grow, low water needs, prolific self sower can be a negative.  (7).
Cottage Garden - Moss Rose

17. Russian Sage (P) - I have a couple of Russian Sages that are in their 3rd year now.  Still not robust and not in bloom yet.  Overall rating (6).
Cottage Garden - Russian Sage

18. Key Lime Coral Bells (P) - I had two of them in the border but one died.  Not fabulous in my garden.  Overall rating (6).

Not my photo.  Dave's Garden

19. Red Verbena (A) - I love both red and purple trailing verbena in the front of my border.  They are pretty reliable annuals and bloomers but occasionally after a rain, I have to deadhead hard, and they need to start the bloom process all over.  Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Trailing Verbena

20. Diamond Frost (A) - This is the second year in a row that I have topped my step ladder with a Diamond Frost.  Love it! Overall rating (9).
Cottage Garden - Diamond Frost Euphorbia

21. Cherry Star Superbell Calibrachoa (A) - My first shot at this showy annual.  I love Calibrachoas on the ladder for consistent bloom, and prolific blooms.  Overall rating (8).

Cottage Garden - Calibrachoa

22. Angelonia Angelface Blue (A) - My second year with Angelonia on the ladder.  Last year's pink was a much more prolific bloomer.  Overall rating (6).
Cottage Garden - Angelonia

23. Pincushion Flower (P) - A very old fashioned charm plant.  Long blooming.  May need staking.  Comes in a purple or white.  Pincushion flower has a very unstructured growth habit.  Overall rating (6).
Cottage Garden - Scabiosa

24. Shasta Daisy (P) - Great cottage garden plant.  Long blooming, non-agressive spread, and fun for cutting.  Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Shasta Daisy

25. Small Marguerite Daisy (A) - Small scale daisies perfect for the front of the border.  Moderate deadheading needed.  Overall rating (7).
Cottage Garden - Marguerite Daisy

26. Maltese Cross (P) - This was one of the original perennials that I started in my house from seed over ten year ago.  An under-appreciated perennial.  Very showy and non aggressive.  Love it.  Overall rating (9).

Cottage Garden - Maltese Cross

27. Dark Pink Gaura (A) - This year I planted Gaura in the same galvanized washtub with much different results.  Gaura is not a reliable bloomer.  Overall rating (6).

28. Alyssum (A) - Alyssum are great little front of the border annuals that are great little edging plants.  Just make sure to shear them back a bit in midsummer to keep them in bloom.  I like both white and purple.  Overall rating (7).
Cottage Garden - Sweet Alyssum

29. White Astilbe (P) - Great foliage when not in bloom.  Unusual blooms add a variation to the border's daisies.  Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - White Astilbe

30. Red Astilbe (P) - A very old perennial in my garden started over 10 years ago with a bareroot.  Dependable, very few problems.  Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Red Astilbe

31. Gardenview Scarlet Monarda (P) - One of my very favorite perennials.  Only a small portion of this perennial survived the winter but I am sure it will fill in again.  As long as you keep watch on it's growing habits and dig around it every spring to control spread, it is a beautiful butterfly magnet.  Overall rating (9).
Cottage Garden - Red Monarda

32. Butterfly Marguerite Daisy (A) - A+ annual for ease of deadheading, performance, show, disease free.  I could go on and on.  Overall rating (10+).
Cottage Garden - Marguerite Daisy

33. Silver Mound (P) - Basically grown for its silvery foliage, adds contrast in the garden and is hardy and easy to grow.  Overall rating (7).
Cottage Garden - Silver Mound

34. Liatris (P) - A long lived perennial, easy to grow, non invasive.  Late summer bloomer.  Overall rating (7).
Cottage Garden - Liatris

I actually forgot to show you the vintage lunch box planted with Gold Dust Mercardonia on the back of the step ladder.  A great little annual.  Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Mercadonia

When all goes perfectly, my cottage garden looks like this: 
Mixed Annual & Perennial Junk Garden
Previous Year
Mixed Annual & Perennial Junk Garden
Previous Year
This year the perennials are blooming somewhat out of sync.  Still a beautiful garden, but not perfect!

Thanks for reading my blog, Carlene

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  1. What a stunning cottage garden you've cultivated, Carlene! I love your flower choices, and it's interesting how things grow differently depending on what zone they are planted in. I have many of the same plants as you do, but I'm in zone 7 so have differing results, some good and some not so good. But I guess that's the life of a gardener, right? LOL

  2. Your yard is definitely a show stopper Carlene! You've inspired me to get off my you-know-what and work in my flower beds tonight. I see a hummingbird outside the window right now!

    Beautiful healthy flowers, all of them. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge!

  3. I love this post. You may be to up north for the Guara. It grows in ditches in Texas and thrives in dry conditions. I have pink and white. My white ones are larger and better bloomers. Difficult to photograph though but I love the way the bees dance on them like a waterfall. All my plants are overgrown from constant rains and we spent the weekend pruning everything. I have plants dying because their feet are wet. hugs, olive

    p.s. I am going to catch up on your posts now

  4. Un petit coin de paradis sur terre que votre petit jardin et cette chaise fleurie est magnifique.
    Une belle manière de lui donner une seconde vie.
    Gros bisous

  5. Oh my goodness, Carlene, that's a lot of flower knowledge. I kept wishing we had some of those gorgeous flowers down here!

  6. I love your flowers and seeing them all individualy was nice. I'm sure you have many cut flower arrangements in your home.:-)

  7. Just breathtaking Carlene! Whirlybird Nasturtiums...want some!

  8. AMAZING!! I wish I had your "gift" with plants!!

  9. Your flower garden is just beautiful. Wish I could do that, but NOT here. I plan to plant some Shasta daisy and just hope the deer will not eat them. Right now, I am digging up chives that have taken over. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and ratings. That's a big help.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  10. Amazing flowers! Funny the thinks you don't particularly like grow great here in the piney woods of east Texas. I love Calibrachoa but they succumb to the heat here. How do you maintain your bee balm after it blooms? Do you dead head or cut it to the ground?

  11. What a beautiful and helpful gardening plan! I'm going to refer to this when I order bare roots and plants for my next planting! Thank you for going through all the trouble or preparing and sharing this! Hugs, Leena


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