English Cottage Garden Plants List – Practical Home UK

Do you want to have the quaintest, most beautiful cottage garden in your neighbourhood? Are you passionate about gardening? Do you need a beautiful oasis of tranquillity to inspire and relax you? Then take a look at this cottage garden plants list below to find your gardening muse! 


The life of annuals is restricted to just one season, from growth to budding, seeding and withering. Annuals offer structure to your garden because they can be planted along with other plants in their beds, but they’re also a great choice for borders. As such, if you have a perennial plant that flowers in summer, you can couple it with an annual plant that flowers in spring. The best cottage annual plants are marigold, pansies and sweet peas.


Bulbs have the same structural purpose of filling the gaps as annuals. With vibrant, rich colours, bulbs have the advantage of flowering throughout the year. Some of the tallest cottage garden bulbs are allium and summer hyacinth, but tulips and daffodils are particularly enchanting.

Cyclamen hederifolium is a great cottage plant for shade too. Its pink blooms have a refreshing, cooling effect in the stale, stuffy dog-days of summer. Besides, its leaves appear in autumn and last throughout the winter, which provides a nice contrast to the white snow.


If you’re looking for tall cottage garden plants to add structure to your garden, climbers are the perfect, easy-maintenance choice. They attract attention, producing a dynamic effect, and you can arrange them in various interesting ways on fences, walls, espaliers, obelisks or wigwams. The best cottage garden climbers are wisterias, morning glories, vines and roses like the Zepherine Drouhin variety.


Perennials are plants that bloom in the warm months and die in winter. Some of them are tall, some short, some of them have therapeutic properties, but they all offer your garden a dynamic, colourful look. From rustling grasses to Larkspur, pinks and poppies, all these are wonderful for a true English cottage garden.

Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ is a sturdy perennial with wispy stems that spreads fast and is fairly tall at 1 metre high. Besides, it’s one of the best cottage garden plants for shade, making any shaded corner more beautiful with its flowers in late summer.

Small Trees

If you’re looking for tall cottage garden plants, plant some small trees if you have the room. They offer beautiful flowers and tasty fruit, as well as more structure to your garden. Apple trees, redbuds, figs, mountain ash and cherries provide an explosion of colours.


Shrubs are the best cottage garden plants because they offer structure. When planted at the borders, shrubs delimit various sections of your garden, adding a plus of colour and support to your other plants. Among the most colourful, aromatic English cottage garden shrubs, you can try Butterfly bush, hydrangea, lilac, climbing roses, rosemary and lavender.

Rosa Charles de Mills, aka the shrub rose, will enchant you with its perfume. This plant is perfect to grow in shade, with stiff, sturdy petals that resist well even when it’s raining. Reaching 1.5 metres high, a shrub rose is one of the tallest cottage garden plants too.

Vegetables and Herbs

If you want your cottage garden to have a functional purpose too, you can also plant fruit, veggies and herbs. Besides, many of them bring a plus of colour and aroma to your garden, especially rainbow chard, tomatoes, strawberries, mint and basil.

In Conclusion

A cottage garden is first and foremost very diverse. From shrubs to trees, from annuals to perennials, from vines and herbs to vegetables and self-seeding plants, your cottage garden can become a true melting-pot of beauty.

A cottage garden is meant to be diverse in sound, movement and colour, comprising various species that offer it structure. Although you need a lot of skill and imagination to put together an enchanting English garden, these plants above make things easy for anyone. 

So what do you plan to add to your cottage garden? What have you planted so far and what does your dream garden look like?

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