This informal garden style with its rustic charm is still irresistible and easy to achieve if you consider the rich diversity of our indigenous plants.
Abundance and controlled chaos with mixed beds filled with bold patches of exploding colour is the essence of cottage gardening.
This can be achieved on a small and large scale and even a potted cottage garden is a possibility.
Flowerbeds planted thickly with a wide variety of plants, not only smother any germinating weeds, but also confuse pests by providing a large menu to feed on.
Bare soil is seldom visible in a cottage garden and the rule of no digging is easy to follow. Soil and roots stay cool and retain moisture resulting in less water being used.
(Osteospermum (Dimorthoteca) flowers complimenting the brickwork of the building.)
A framework of trees and large shrubs can create hedges on the perimeter of the garden.
Plant species together, in groups of three to five.
Instead of sharply pruned hedges plant Tecomaria capensis (Cape Honeysuckle), Plumbago auriculata, Carissa macrocarpa and Coleonema pulchellum (Confetti Bush).
An abundance of herbs between other plants can be used in cooking and vegetables should be in the foreground in bold groups, instead of formal rows. Trailing plants will soften pavers and pathways.
Fragrant and insect attracting plants is a must.
Buchu species flower prolifically and have highly fragrant foliage.
Rose pelargonium produces lovely pink flowers and patches of Scabiosa africana will attract bees and butterflies.
Use shocking or clashing colours to your hearts content.
African plants come in the warmest colours and repetition will create interest.
Annuals can be introduced by sowing your own seed and Arctotis, Namakwaland daisies, Bokbaai vygies and Nemesia all germinate very easily.
(Orange Watsonia, some grey-leaved Euryops (indigenous daisy) in the background and yellow Verbena as groundcover.)
Let 2018 be the year to enjoy your garden in a relaxed fashion. Spend more time watching your garden birds and less time weeding.