Maybe you’ve noticed a cottage garden while out on a neighborhood walk. It’s the kind that makes a humble home look spectacular. You can’t help but pause to marvel at the densely planted riot of color and foliage in one small yard.
Salvias are frequent habitués of these lively landscapes whether planted under roses to play a supporting role or starring as central attractions amid a cast of countless flowers (annuals, bulbs, and perennials) as well as shrubs, succulents, trees, and vines. Edible landscaping —including herbs, fruit, and vegetables — also may be part of the mix.
To help you start a new cottage garden or fill gaps among the plantings in your current one, Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery now offers FBTS Cottage Garden Collections of easy-to-grow perennial and annual Salvias and companion plants.
Flexible Floral Choices
At the beginning of the cottage gardening movement in 19th Century Britain, individual likes and needs governed planting choices along with local growing conditions and available plants. The same is true today in America. There is no single pattern for layout or what plants fit into the floral rumpus. A lot depends on where you live.
From the Far West to the Mid-Atlantic and from the Midwest to the Deep South, you may joyfully sing along to Jimmie Rodgers 1962 classic An English Country Garden. However, when planting a cottage garden in your region, the plants you select likely will be different from those appropriate for the iconic British cottage.
Fortunately, there are Salvias for many climates — from dry to damp and in-between — because different kinds are native to a broad range of settings worldwide. Some need lots of sun; others thrive with plentiful shade. Rich loam is ideal for many whereas lots prefer gravelly, low-nitrogen desert soils.
You get the panoramic picture: Salvias fit into almost any cottage garden.
FBTS Cottage Garden Collections
Historically, cottage gardens have relied on plants requiring minimal fuss. Long ago, the peasants and working families who tended home allotments had little time for gardening. They didn’t have the hours or greenhouses in which to pamper plants. So, their gardens mostly contained what they could grow easily.
Long workdays are still the rule. At FBTS, we understand the demands of tight schedules as well as the nationwide variability of sun exposure, soils, temperatures, water availability, and wind. That’s why one of our catalog menus is titled Easy to Grow Plants. This queue contains Salvias and companion plants that are adaptable to a wide variety of growing conditions. We chose the plants for our FBTS Cottage Garden Collections from this list.
FBTS Cottage Garden Collections are organized, in part, by flower color. Although our Easy to Grow list contains a rainbow of colors, our cottage garden kits are limited to favorite plants in the red and blue ranges. A good rule of green thumb for any garden project is to start small and keep growing.
By color "range," we mean that the red groups may include pink and red-orange flowers. Blue-range plants encompass colors such as true blue, pale blue, lavender, and an array of purples.
The collections contain perennial and annual groups. Some perennials can’t withstand cold winter temperatures yet grow quickly and bloom bountifully for multiple seasons. We include some of these plants in both our annual and perennial kits. Collections labeled “chilly” tolerate cold winter temperatures. “Gentle” collections are perennial in warmer USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.
To view our Cottage Gardens Collections, click on Garden Kits at the top of any FBTS website page. Then click on Cottage Garden Collections to see the following kits:
To paraphrase the opening of Rodgers’ hit song, you might ask: How many kinds of sweet Salvias grow in an American cottage garden? Answer: Many, many.
More questions? At FBTS, we’re always here to assist you. Please contact us with any comments or questions you may have. Meanwhile, happy gardening!