A growing trend in gardening these days is towards a more natural look, which is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally aware. A fine example of such a garden is that of Lucy Erridge’s cottage, so we asked Lucy how it is done.
Alison designed the structure of the garden – the paved areas and garden beds, with curved shapes for interest, enhancing the different levels of the ground. I wanted people to see the cottage through flowers, so we swapped plants with friends and neighbours who had taller varieties – golden rod, Japanese anemone, policeman’s’ helmet, crocosmia ….My latest addition is two clematis growing up the tree…., It will take a while for them to really get growing, but I would love to see flowers in the tree.
We fill the beds with flowering plants for the look but also the practical function of filling the space so that the weeds can’t find room to grow. Our biggest weed is bind weed which needs pulling out all the time. We tried a weed suppressant layer but it stopped the plants spreading so we had to take it up.
I chose plants that would suit a dry, sunny, cottage garden – poppies, lupins, hollyhocks, Shasta daisies. I want beautiful colours all year, plants that will self-seed or multiply – purple poppy, columbine. I divide plants and transplant them around the garden to keep a flow of colour through the beds – cornflower.
Many of the flowers encourage bees, the poached egg plant is covered with them, but this year the buddleia has very few butterflies and I don’t know the reason. We have seen the hummingbird hawk moth in the garden but not so far this year.
Sustaining the garden
My son grows about 4 types of seeds for me each year giving a large quantity of the same plant(for the price of 4 packets of seeds)- this fills empty spaces , keeps a colour scheme throughout, and gives plants at different times of the year. I also use a lot of pots with bulbs and plants to fill the gaps and provide colour all year, as one pot finishes I replant. We compost our garden waste and use it in the pots and garden. Otherwise I use Chicken manure pellets in spring and autumn as fertilizer.
Watering the garden has always been done from water we have collected from the slate roof, we have 2 barrels. This year we have had to reconnect to a mains supply as last year it was so dry that we couldn’t keep everything alive. We still have the water barrel and use the collected water when possible.
In the autumn we cut back all the growth and end up throwing lots of excess plants away. We would love to swap or donate these plants rather than just throwing them away.
In the autumn details will be posted about plant swapping initiative. If you are interested please keep your eyes peeled for further announcement or fill in the contact form below.