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Cottage gardens don't look designed. In fact, they're usually exuberant, free-flowering, and sometimes even unrestrained. To get the informal look, avoid planting in straight lines or defined patterns. Let plants cascade over paths and weave through each other. It adds to their charm. And grow self-seeding plants that pop up in unexpected places.
Cottage gardens aren't about new varieties. They're usually filled with the same traditional favorites your grandmother would have grown. Some popular examples include peony, cosmos, foxglove, snapdragon, pansy, bachelor's button, columbine, bleeding heart, and hollyhock.
Cottage gardens often include structures made from natural or well-worn materials. Weathered wood fences, arbors, and gates are right at home among a collection of cottage plants.
Don't be afraid to find creative uses for old items. For example, an old chicken feeder might become a fun planter, or a rusty trowel could be a great gate handle.
While all these elements are commonly found in a cottage garden, the biggest rule is that you create a look you love. Don't get caught up in trying to follow "the rules." Plant what you like and how you like it for a delightful cottage garden to suit you.
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