Do you need some ideas for how to create a farmhouse cottage garden?
After reading the book “Anne of Green Gables’ and then watching the movie I’m more in love than ever with the traditional cottage garden.
Welcome to the April Edition of the Virtual Book Club.
I along with three other bloggers will be sharing our interpretation of a different book each book on the fourth week of each month.
On Thursday we will be sharing something home decor related and on the following Saturday a culinary treat inspired by our book
On my blog Living Large in A Small House, I may sometimes use affiliate links, which means a small commission is earned if you make a purchase via the link. The price will be the same whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website using a non-affiliate link. You can find my full Disclosure Policy HERE
Maybe you would rather listen to the audio version of these books! Join Audible and you can enjoy books on the go from your phone! This is a great way to read lots of books!
Or maybe you are a movie watcher, like me! Join Amazon Prime and get access to thousands of movies!
Anne of Green Gables
Our book this month is “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It was written in 1908 and set in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island in Canada.
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decided to bring an orphan boy into their home to help with farm work. Instead, the orphanage sends Anne. Anne who is a very precocious child but smart and hardworking quickly steals a piece of their hearts. They decide to keep her and eventually adopt her.
It’s a classic children’s book that is enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s been made into several movies and even a series.
Anne loved nature and was inspired by it so I leaned into that love as I too love to be outside in the gardens and one with nature.
Anne Loved Flowers
Not only does Anne have a great way with words, but she also has a way with flowers.
She wore them in her hair, pressed them in books, and decorated cakes with edible plants.
Cottage Garden Flowers
While Anne lived in a farmhouse there was also the cottage feel with the white picket fences and the garden beds. If you are interested in starting your own cottage garden here are some of the perennial plants you might want to try.
Some of my favorite cottage plants and also some of the beautiful blooms that would have been in the fictional town of Avonlea are listed below:
- Sweet Peas – Lathyrus odoratus
- Sweet William or Dianthus barbatus – Caryophyllaceae
- Hollyhocks – Alcea Rosea
- Foxglove – Digitalis Purpurea
- Poppy – Papaver Orientale
- Clematis Vine or Leather Flower – Ranunculaceae
- Sweet Rocket – Hesperis matronalis
- Tiger Lilies – Lilium lancifoliumShrub Roses – Rosaceae
- Phlox Paniculata – Polemoniaceae
- Peony – Paeonia officinalis
- Delphinium (Larkspur) – Ranunculaceae
- Hydrangea – Hydrangeaceae
- Day Lily – Hemerocallis
- Hostas – Asparagaceae
- Cleome – Cleomaceae
- Shasta Daisy – Leucanthemum x superbum
- Bee Balm (Monarda) – Lamiaceae
- Blue False Indigo – Baptisia australis
- Irises – Iris
In my somewhat cottage-style garden, I grow most of these plants. They however seem to be the ones that our little family of deer love so it’s a constant battle to keep them from eating the new flower buds.
In my cut garden which is fenced, I have better luck and like Anne, I cut flowers and bring them inside to make my home beautiful and romantical.
Cottage Garden Ideas
The beauty of a cottage garden is that many of the flowers are self-seeding plants which over time gives it that natural informal design. Many can also benefit from division which will give you more plants for FREE.
Straight lines are not a thing with Farmhouse Cottage Gardens.
The first year that you plant a cottage garden it won’t have that full complete look. By the second year, it will start to take shape and look fuller.
If you like some structure to your garden you can plant the taller plants in the back and then medium and short plants in the front. A more layered look.
One of my favorite gardening books is “The Layered Garden” by David L. Culp
“Oh, look, here’s a big bee just tumbled out of an apple blossom. Just think what a lovely place to live–in an apple blossom! Fancy going to sleep in it when the wind was rocking it. If I wasn’t a human girl, I think I’d like to be a bee and live among the flowers.”
Cottage Planting Garden Tips
I’m a hobby garden, not a master garden so these are just my personal tips and tricks for gardening
- Plant in threes (3) – Three of the same plant in three different areas in my garden
- Use three main colors (pink, white, and yellow) and have pops of blue
- Stagger the height of plants and their blooming time
- Make sure that a full sun plant gets at least 6 hours of sun a day
- In shade areas plant shade loving plants
- Use annual flowers to fill in your gardens for all-season color
You also want your perennial flowers to be blooming at different times so that you have defined all-around color throughout your garden.
It’s definitely an art and you need to research what you are planting and where.
While people think that a cottage garden isn’t much work, I personally find that not to be the case. Some types of flowers can take over depending on your soil conditions.
Therefore you need to maintain those plants by thinning or dividing them.
I also find that weeding is an ongoing project even with a good layer of mulch
Cottage Garden Plants
You can purchase by clicking on the photo
Adding Character to Your Garden
A traditional English cottage garden would also incorporate a brick path and or use natural stone as a garden path, ledge, or natural fencing. These traditional materials add to the whimsy of a cottage garden.
In a typical cottage garden style, a home would also have window boxes cascading with beautiful flowers.
The Farmhouse’s Garden’s
Because Anne’s home was a true farmhouse, in addition to the flower garden there was also a vegetable garden or kitchen garden, an herb garden, and an orchard with fruit trees.
During the late 1800s when Anne of Green Gables takes place, a farmhouse garden was a necessity.
With potential months between visits to a town, the garden would have supplied a family with a food source. In the herb garden would have been medicinal plants that they could use for first aid and help with sicknesses.
Prince Edward Island
The fictional town of Avonlea was created by author Lucy Maud Montgomery as the home of Anne Shirley Cuthbert and it was located on Prince Edward Island.
Prince Edward Island is a real place located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, west of Cape Breton Island, north of the Nova Scotia peninsula, and east of New Brunswick.
The island has between 5 and 6 hardiness zone so they have very similar growing conditions to me in Illinois at 5b.
Most of the flowers would have been brought from England and what we now consider cottage garden plants.
If you decide to start a perennial garden in your yard, it’s a good idea to decide ahead of time how much maintenance you are willing to give to this hobby.
Keep your gardens small if you don’t have a lot of time to spare tending to your gardens.
I personally think that spending time in the garden is very therapeutic so for me, a large garden is still fun but I can see a time when it will be too much to manage.
Peace & Love,
Thanks for Following Along
If you enjoyed this post I hope you sign-up to be a friend of Living Large in A Small House! Then you won’t miss any of the inspiration that is shared with you each week! You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. I share even more inspiration on Pinterest! You can listen to me chat on my Podcast
Sweet Valley Acres
A great way to remember this article is to save it on one of your Pinterest boards. You can find the pin button in the top right corner of the photo below. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest
Living Large Podcast
My conversation with Kim from Cottage in the Mitten is about her Cottage Blankets for a Cause and so much more…