American cottage gardens can be just as wonderful as English cottage gardens with the same sense of informal wonder, curving borders filled with flowers and relaxed atmosphere filled with materials from nature such as wood and stone. However, few places in the U.S. have the climate to support the traditional English cottage garden plants outside of the Pacific Northwest. As drought and low water conditions continue to be problem in many parts of the country, it is time to take a look at the types of perennials, annuals and shrubs that not only survive in the heat and low water regions, but thrive here! After all, that is how the best gardens are made…working with nature, rather than against it!
Cottage Garden Plants
Here is a list of both the latin and common names of The Garden Glove’s favorite cottage garden plants. Most are heat and drought resistant, and many bloom all summer long! Photos below from ‘Wayside Gardens‘.
Perennials for Cottage Gardens
- Yarrow- Achillea- Blooms in yellow, pinks and Whites all summer
- Purple Coneflower– Echinacea- Blooms from July on
- Boltonia- Blooms late summer
- Perennial Sunflower-Heliopsis;Helianthus- Blooms all summer
- Coreopsis– Blooms all summer
- Zing Rose Dianthus- Blooms all summer
- Globe Thistle-Echinops-Blooms late summer
- Gaura-Blooms all summer
- Gloriosa Daisy- Rudbeckia- Mid summer on
- Ornamental Grass- Miscanthus or Pennisetum
- Daylily-Hemerocallis- Some all summer, try Stella D’Oro
- Lavender-Lavandula- Blooms late spring- early summer
- Blazing Star- Liatris- Late summer-fall
- Mallow-Malva- Blooms all summer
- Catmint-Nepeta-Blooms early summer
- Evening primrose- Oenothera- Blooms all summer
- Beardtongue-Penstemon-Blooms all summer
- Russian Sage-Perovskia- Late summer
- Creeping Phlox- Phlox sublata- Spring
- Lambs Ear-Stachys-grown for soft, velvety silver foliage
Shrubs and Vines for Cottage Gardens
- Butterfly Bush- Buddleia- Mid summer bloom into fall
- Lilac– Spring bloom
- Blue Mist Shrub- Caryopteris- Mid to late summer
- Shrub Rose– Try landscape roses such as Flower Carpet or Knock Out, or our favorite David Austin English Roses.
Annuals for Cottage Gardens
- California Poppy
- Sweet Alyssum
Photo by ‘Fiskars‘.
Keep in mind that all plants require regular water the first year in order to get their root systems established. After that, all of these are drought resistant and have beautiful flowers to boot. If you’ve always wanted a cottage garden but felt it wasn’t possible for you, try these varieties of cottage garden plants for American gardens. I grow most of them here in my high desert garden at The Garden Glove, where they tolerate summer highs in the 100’s and winter lows occasionally below 0.