Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
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One of the most typical characteristics of a cottage garden is deep and generous borders. This can enable cottage gardeners to establish large and dramatic planting schemes.
However, such large borders can require more experience in planting design to execute effectively. A typically difficult with filling such planting schemes is implementing enough height.
Very often borders are based with high hedges or fences at the back and low planting at the front.
Identifying tall plants for the cottage garden border however, can be tricky. On the whole cottage gardens prefer not to include very large shrubs.
This is because their roots can take moisture and nutrients away from surrounding flowering plants. Larger shrubs also shade out perennial flowers which provide most of a cottage garden borders flower displays.
Consequently, tall plants for cottage garden borders should have large flowers, interesting form and remain relatively compact. Below I have identified and described 10 tall plants for cottage garden borders.
1. Rosa rugosa
Rosa rugosa is a shrub rose with tall vertical stems and very attractive, pink, flowers. Originally from Eastern Asia this old world rose is tough and hardy.
As long as it gets lots of sun and does not dry out it will be happy. Reaching two metres tall this rose will add plenty of height to the cottage garden border.
Holly hocks are most recognisable for their appearance and use within cottage gardens. These short lived perennials send up tall flower stems up to two metres tall during the summer.
Recognisable for its large flowers, holly hocks can add spears of height throughout cottage garden borders.
3. Elephant grass
Elephant grass is the common name of a type of Miscanthaus (Miscanthus giganteus). This dramatic looking grass is well known for its tall and tropical look.
Growing up to 4 metres tall this deciduous grass can create an attractive tubular form to cottage borders.
As a perennial it will grow back every year and leave standing golden foliage during the winter.
4. Butterfly bush
The butterfly bush is very well known for its long clusters of colourful flowers which are popular with butterflies.
Also known as Buddleia, this medium sized shrub is recognised for its resilience. Buddleia can be seen growing along the top of old structures and buildings.
This shrub can easily be pruned and trained into any shape including lollipops or circles.
Hydrangea is a popular shrub famous for its compact size and large, colourful, flower clusters.
The great thing about hydrangeas is they have a very long flowering season. This small to medium sized shrub never gets too large making it perfect for cottage gardens.
Fargesia is a type of bamboo and one of the most docile in terms of running and spreading. This bamboo can still reach impressive heights however it has soft, feathery, foliage.
Also known as fountain bamboo it can add flowing shapes and movement to cottage garden borders.
7. Tree peony
Tree peonys are remarkably attractive plants which can add both form and flowers to the cottage garden.
Anyone familiar with perennial peonies will know just how amazing and striking their flowers are. They have supportive stems which provide the typical blooms of Peony but at the height of a shrub.
Fennel is well known as a herb for cooking but less well known as a landscaping plant. This Mediterranean perennial is extremely drought tolerant and provides lots of seasonal interest.
In the cottage garden it can be admired for its form and ability to encourage beneficial insects.
9. Bears breeches
Bears Breeches or Acanthus mollis is a large flowering perennial originally from the Mediterranean. This plant has very unusual, decorative flowers with large glossy leaves.
Being drought resistant it is perfect for sunny positions at the back of cottage garden flower beds.
Cardoons are probably one of the most fascinating looking perennial plants. Closely related to the globe artichoke cardoons have light grey foliage and a striking form.
In summer they grow a robust central stem and produce a fantastic spiky purple flowers.
Thank you for reading our article on tall plants for cottage garden borders. If you require cottage garden services including design or landscaping contact us.
Below I will include more cottage garden articles you may also find useful.
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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire