Native Cottage Garden

Native Cottage Garden

Different garden designs come into and out of vogue but the Cottage Garden is a perennial favourite. This garden design conjures up the idea of a free-flowing, mass planting of flowering herbs and shrubs that delight the eye with an array of colour and the senses with delectable aromas. However, a well planned Cottage Garden has a deliberate structure which ensures different plants that flower all year-round with different textures and colours of foliage. Native plants can ensure an equally beautiful display.

The Cottage Garden uses different strata of plants. Large shrubs or small trees are found at the back of rectangular beds against a fence or building, or in the centre of a circular one. Species suitable for this could include the Lemon Scented Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) and Grey Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia) with their aromatic leaves, the Swamp Bloodwood (Corymbia ptychocarpa) with its large gumnuts and red-pink flowers or Twiggy Myrtle (Sannantha similis) with its delicate lace-like weeping foliage that casts filtered sunlight to the plants below and mass of tea-tree like white flowers in summer.

Corymbia ptychocarpa – Photograph by Summerdrought – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The middle strata could include the Velvet leaf (Callicarpa pedunculata), the mauve berries of which are bird attractants, the lavender or white flowered Coastal Rosemary (Westringia fructicosa), the Purple Pea Bush (Hovea acutifolia), the Cats Whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus) with its unique and beautiful white flowers or the purple-flowering Native indigo (Indigofera australis). Cordylines and Flax lilies (Dianella caerula) could happily be included here.

Shorter plants and ground covers make up the front strata and there are a wealth of beautiful, scented plants that could be planted in this zone – white Everlasting daisy (Coronidium elatum), the blue Forest Daisy (Brachyscome microcarpa) or Yellow Burr Daisy (Calotis lappulacea) interspersed with the lacy, lavender flowered Thyme Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca thymifolia) provide an erect planting. Ground covers (which also act as a living mulch) could include the Native Sarsparilla (Hardenbergia violacea), the Fan Flower (Scaevola aemula) and, in moist areas, the White Native Violet (Viola hederacea).

Visit the nursery and see how a few of these plants have been used to landscape the area around the cottage. The friendly staff will be able to advise you on the many more species that would be suitable for this and other garden designs.

Back to Paten’s Manuscripts