If these flower varieties make you think of your grandmother, it’s because classic cottage garden blooms are enjoying a renaissance in our gardens. Perhaps it’s because they are hardy, simple to grow and, once established, with regular watering will pop up to delight you year in, year out. Give them a go and you might find you’ve inherited Grandma’s green thumb.
Nanna’s favourite and easy to grow from cuttings, hydrangeas need plenty of water daily. A position in full sun to semi shade helps to avoid these summer flowering beauties getting hit too hard by brutal midsummer sun.
2. Sweet pea
Delicate and sweetly scented, plant sweet peas in a sunny spot on St Patrick’s Day in March, the saying goes, for a bumper crop in Spring. Support with trellis, climbing frames or against fence as the tendrills grow thicker. Pick flowers as they appear and more will follow.
Classic cottage garden favourite, this old-fashioned bloom is more delicate than its bigger brother delphinium and looks great planted en masse. Flowering in spring and summer, once planted it will reseed itself and reappear each year.
Who can go past a poppy? Enjoying a resurgence in popularity, commercial growers are experimenting with size and colour blocking to produce some incredible blooms. In your garden, their gently nodding heads blowing in the breeze like paper to add a bright pop of colour from late winter into spring and summer.
5. Love in the mist
Now this is an old-fashioned lady. Nigella produces delicate star-like pale blue and white blooms atop ephemeral-leafed stems, in contrast to its hardy nature and strongly scented seeds that can be harvested and dry roasted for salads and curries.
Another cottage garden classic, the hollyhock adds wow factor to your garden, growing striking flower-covered stems up to 3 metres tall. Great to add height to your garden, they’re easy to grow and flower in full sun.
Rudbeckias or cone flowers are tall, bright yellow flowers, similar to an Echinacea with a black centre, surrounded by soft petals. Nick Vale of Sydney’s Garden Life is a fan – “I love rudbeckias!” he says, “They work well planted all in a big drift, then you can interplant with other flower like lilies, all growing up on top of them.”
Top tips to keep your garden tip top
Give it a little care, often
Watering is key – daily if possible and before the heat of the day
Feed a couple of times a year – a simple scatter of slow-release fertilizer does the trick
Check instructions on the tag or seed packet of flowers you purchase and make a note in your diary of when to feed or prune
Keep it simple – if you’re not prepared to put in the time, opt for easy care plants
Be patient - trial and error can be half the fun!