When we first moved into this house, all I could do was marvel at the sheer size of my backyard. I didn’t put much thought into what I would do with it until recently. And then, I realized that I have this whole portion of my yard that isn’t visible from the back porch, and that isn’t something you want with young kids running around. I decided after a few weeks that I wanted to plant a “crazy, overgrown flower garden,” not yet knowing that there was actually a term for such a garden. I had a very precise picture in my head, but having never grown anything other than a veggie garden, I didn’t even know where to start. Then, one day I came across pins on Pinterest referring to a Cottage Garden. I realized this was exactly what I had envisioned for that portion of my backyard and became obsessed with the idea.
Eventually, I want to have a sitting area, a pathway, a trellising archway, and tons of privacy. But first….there is a ton of work to be done. For starters, whoever lived in this house before me clearly used to love gardening. I know it was an older couple, so I can only assume that it eventually became too much for them. There is so much overgrowth that the task of cleaning up is a huge undertaking. You probably remember me saying something similar in my garden mulch post a couple of months ago.
Finally, this weekend I decided to take the first steps to getting the area cleaned up of everything I don’t want, and I think I did a pretty great job! I don’t really know what all I cut down. It was so intertwined that it was impossible to tell. The only thing I left (that could have been cut down by me) for now were a few berry vines that I stumbled across, and what looks like some sort of ivy that is thriving along one of the fences. I’m pretty impressed at what I was able to get done in just two days.
It’s not the best comparison, since I technically forgot to take a before picture. This one is just cropped out of another picture, so it’s not really clear. But you can still see a huge difference. My plans for this weekend include clearing the vines and plants from the other side of the fence, and calling the electric company to help us clear these trees since they are growing into the wires. I don’t normally like cutting down trees, but these have grown completely around the fence, and I think we’re going to need to replace the fence at this point. All of the vines and plants growing in and out of it has seriously compromised it’s sturdiness. It’s even bent and open in a few places, which doesn’t make me feel safe with a young child and puppy.
Next on the agenda is to start improving the soil and getting some sort of beds prepared. I don’t want anything too landscaped, since that defeats the purpose of a Cottage garden, but we’ll be starting from scratch so I need to prepare something! I’ll start small, working out from the fence (which is finally almost clear enough to see!), add a sitting area, and build a garden arch to trellis some vining flowers on. That will be placed in between my 2 citrus trees, so the 3 of them can form a sort of boundary into the area, that separates it from the rest of the yard.
I imagine it will be a few years before I have anything that looks even remotely like the top photo, but I’m excited to have a plan and can’t help but envision how peaceful this garden will be once it’s complete. Do you have a cottage garden? What are your favorite flowers you’ve planted there? I’m thinking I’ll do a mix of flowering plants, herbs, and berries in the area, to make it functional as well as beautiful.