Friday Inspiration – Planning My Cottage Garden

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Last April my husband & I bought a new house a Victorian property built in the late 1800’s in Guildford, Surrey near where I grew up. We inherited a good sized garden with the property which required a huge amount a work, as it had been neglected for years, along with piles of rubbish it had a falling down shed and loads & loads of weeds! We spent most of last summer tiding it up and discovering different areas which had been preciously hidden by the mass of out of control weeds, my husband (Fab DIY’er) fixed the shed, built a new roof and door and we stained the exterior Jet Black. There’s a decked area by the house followed by a two tier lawn with path running down the side, a middle patio, mini bluebell meadow and then the bottom garden where the shed is and where we grew some vegetables last summer. This Spring/ Summer is going to be all about growing and planting tons of flowers. To suit the period style of the house I’m planning a cottage style of planting, I want a mass of foxgloves stretching high, fragrant lavender and lots of pretty poppies planted in a very relaxed manner. This week I headed to my local Homebase which handy for me is a short walk away and I bought some Plants, Seeds & Bulbs to get things started.

Before Photo of the bottom of our Garden & the mini Bluebell Meadow the day we moved in and our shed after it’s makeover. 

Inspiration – While working on my book Selina Lake Outdoor Living I visited some really inspiring gardens and outdoor spaces like the David Austin Rose Garden and Sarah-Jane Down The Lane‘s fabulous Buttercup Field where I styled the table setting below. I also find lots of inspiration via Pinterest – here are some of my favourites Pins from my Home and Garden board

Last summer I planted quite a few David Austin Roses, Peonies, hydrangeas, Foxgloves and lots of lovely verbena plants kept popping up everywhere which I love. As with most new gardens it takes time to get them established and I defiantly need tons more plants to create the rambly cottage style garden I’m craving. I want to grow some annuals to bring a pop of colour and fragrance to the garden so this week I started sowing my Homebase Sweetpea seeds which I’m now keeping on my kitchen windowseal until it’s a little warmer to put them in the shed. Aswell as growing my own sweetpeas from seeds I’ve also bought some seedlings from Homebase which will be ready to plant out soon. My aim is to be able to pick bunches and bunches of colourful sweetpeas throughout the Summer. 

I’m also having a go at growing Hollyhocks, Salvia, Delphiniums, Larkspur, Poppies and Antirrhinum (or Snap Dragons as I call them) from seed. These will be a gorgeous addition and will hopefully attract bumble bees to our garden. After my husband gave our shed a makeover we started making the area in front of it into a herb garden with Lavender, Russian sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme. I’m planning to grow some edible flowers here too and I’ve just successfully moved some wild garlic from another area of our garden. 

Aswell as seeds I also have quite a few Gladioli bulbs to start planting out soon, I want to plant some every week for the next couple of months in the hopes of having a succession of blooms throughout the summer, I love this green star variety from Homebase. This weekend I will be planting some ranunculus and hollyhock plants which I also bought from Homebase as I’m eager to get my newly dug over flower beds filled up!! (Fingers crossed for frost free days from now on!)

I will be doing an ‘After’ post in the Summer when hopefully I’ll be sharing images of my cottage garden in full bloom – wish me luck! I’d love to hear what your planning to sow/plant in your gardens and any cottage garden gardening tips would be much appreciated! Right Gardening Gloves at the ready… 


  • February 20, 2015, 9:01 am  Reply

    Nothing like a spot of gardening Selina to feed the soul and gladden the heart. Enjoy x

  • February 20, 2015, 6:53 pm  Reply

    Lovely gardening post and love your little shed makeover, looks very pretty. I too love a cottage garden although I don't have much space, I plant cottage flowers in pots and like to pick them daily during summer. Look forward to seeing your flowers when they start blooming.

  • February 21, 2015, 8:33 pm  Reply

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful selection of flowers! I always admire a cottage garden, I try and add a new flower to my selection every year but I'm not quite happy with the layout quite yet. Good luck with your plantings and seedlings! Katie x

  • February 22, 2015, 10:05 pm  Reply

    Beautiful photos, lovely flowers.

  • February 23, 2015, 12:49 pm  Reply

    The shed looks so good Selina! It is so lovely to bring a garden back to life…I can't wait to see what you do this year…all those seeds…promise of summer…Sarah –x–

  • October 28, 2015, 6:11 pm  Reply

    I'm thinking along the same lines Selina. Dreaming of my garden in full bloom this summer and have planted very similar flowers. Currently looking into alternative options for planting the flowers and the flower beds are so high maintenance with weeds and slugs (well they are in this part of Ireland 🙂 Looking forward to seeing your flowers in bloom soon

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