Here in Brisbane a Cottage Garden seems a distant and unattainable garden dream but with careful and appropriate selection of plant species you can still create a beautiful floriferous cottage garden that would give any cool climate cottage a garden run for its money.
I personally like to create more of a colonial cottage look, carefully mixing Australian natives with exotic perennials and shrubs. For me even edibles can be incorporated into this design style; you can’t get more ornamental than Meyer lemon or cumquat in full fruit.
My Top 5 Perennial Choices.
Salvias all spp & cultivars
Lavandula dentata ‘French lavender’
Strobilanthes hamiltoniana ‘Pacific Bells’
Tagetes lemonni ‘Mexican marigold’
My Top 5 Shrub Choices
Streptosolen jamesonii “Browallia’
Brunfelsia latifolia ‘Yesterday Today and Tomorrow’
Rondeltia amoena ‘Rondelitia’
Camellia sasanqua cultivars
Solanum rantonettii ‘Blue potato bush’
My Top 5 climbers
Stephanotis floribunda ‘Madagascan jasmine’
Quisqualis indica “Rangoon creeper’
Clitoria ternate ‘Blue butterfly pea’
My Top Australian natives that fit into a cottage feel.
Thryptomene saxicola var.f.c.payne
Grevillea’s assorted species and cultivars
This hardy perennial marigold grows to around 1m and produces flowers throughout autumn and spring.
This is one of the largest perennial salvias, growing to around 2m high by about 2.5m wide and sometimes even more.
Growing to 1.5m this is one of the darkest purple flowering perennial salvias.
An absolutely stunning semi-deciduous climber for subtropical climates. The flowers have the most intoxicating fragrance.
This is truly the best variety of lavender to grow in the subtropics, tolerating our humidity far better than any of the English or Italian varieties.
Grevilleas I think can fit in quite well to the subtropical cottage garden.
Grevillea ‘Caloundra gem’
Paper daisies, Nemesia, Salvia, Geranium, French lavender, and Cleome.
‘Yesterday Today and Tomorrow’ is an old fashioned shrub growing to around 2m and produces flowers that initially start off purple then fade to mauve and then white. The fragrance is outstanding.
Not often seen these days the Lion’s ear makes a wonderful orange flowering choice for cottage gardens. There is also a white flowering form.
What cottage garden would be without geraniums. These newer varieties are far more hardy in the humidity than some of the older ones.
Native perennials such as the paper daisy have no trouble fitting in with other popular exotic perennial choices.