Follow in plantswoman Margery Fish’s footsteps
Cottage garden plants are perennial favourites and last year’s RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows featured several of this quintessentially British design. Now, Johnsons has launched a new range to help you achieve the look.
One woman’s fascinating obsession with the style is Margery Fish, whose classic book Cottage Garden Flowers was published in 1961.
Even as a complete novice, she created a naturalistic, cottage-style garden at her home at East Lambrook Manor, bought in 1937.
The garden was very much a battleground between her and husband ex-Daily Mail editor Walter Fish, who wanted a more formal style with showy displays of summer flowers.
Only after the death of Walter in 1947 did her garden take shape, using cottage garden flowers and spreading and self-seeding native plants, with floral interest all the year round.
The battle of wills between them was described in her first gardening books We Made a Garden (1956), as much about their difficult marriage as about the problems of creating a garden from scratch.
The development of East Lambrook Manor was at a time when large houses could no longer afford to employ lots of gardeners and for many years, Margery worked with very little help.
She worked 18-hour days on developing and maintaining the garden, even doing dry stone walling and path-laying herself.
Plants associated with the garden include the silver-leafed wormwood Artemisia absinthium Lambrook Silver; Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii, Lambrook Gold; Santolina chamaecyparissus Lambrook Silver and Primula Lambrook Mauve.
If you want to follow in Margery’s footsteps and grow your own cottage garden from seed, Johnsons new range, Create your own Cottage Garden, can help you do just that.
The 12 annuals and perennials, including Lupin Russell Mixed, Verbena bonariensis, Bergamot Panorama Mixed and Erigeron Profusion, are available as single packets of as a Designer Garden Collection, all 12 varieties for £12.99.
Johnsons range of seeds is available from garden centres, supermarkets and leading DIY stores throughout the UK and at www.johnsons-seeds.com.