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Beautiful French Cottage Garden Designs for You

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

The beauty of french cottage garden designs will inspire you to make one.

Brief History

Centuries ago, middle-class European workers created an informal, intelligent and beautiful way to decorate the front gardens and rock walls of their modest cottages.

People use flowers, ornamental foliage, fructiferous plants, and herbs given to them. Typically people use these plants given by their patrons or neighbors or found wild in the countryside. Then, they began to imitate the beautiful and elegant landscapes found in wealthy family houses.

This was not only a way to adorn their gardens and cottages but a way to have those extra vegetables and herbs for their everyday meals at hand without the need to go to the market. Flowers, plants, and herbs are all in one space. These plants spread out in the garden and walls in no particular order but very well kept. The organization was the key to these cottage gardens.

Plants You See in a French Cottage

woman in the french cottage garden
All of the vegetation serves a purpose in a cottage garden. Fructiferous plants yield their delicious produce. People harvest their tomatoes, apples, pears, strawberries, and other indigenous fruits and vegetables in season. The flowers planted around become natural fertilizers when their petals fell. The primary purpose of flowers was of course to infuse the garden with color. Also, these plants permeate the surroundings with their fragrances.

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Ornamental climbing plants such as the clematis vitalba, known as “traveler boy,” and lonicera periclymenum –  the “European honeysuckle” – were planted thoughtfully to gradually grow and flourish while sticking to the rock walls of the European cottages.  Owners also developed hedges with ornamental foliages that covered. In addition, the ornamental plant served as fences that helped divide the land between cottages. They would also help keep the privacy of the property.

Herbs were also a very important part of the assortment of plants in the gardens. In fact, these herbs wear great for culinary purposes as we use them today. Most importantly, they were key ingredients for medicinal, homemade remedies and teas. A third and very common use for herbs was to add them to homemade cleaning solutions.

Origin and Purpose

french cottage garden
French cottage garden, or “jardins de cur” as they are called in French, were originally cultivated in England. This was when it was inhabited and influenced heavily by the French. Today this is one of the most popular styles of gardening in the world.

Different from the first cottage gardens that were not referred to as “French country gardens,”, they were typically designed depending on the part or country in Europe, today’s gardens are basically one style. 

Years ago people had to work their gardens with plants and flowers. Usually, these plants were indigenous to their country or area and were easy to find and take care of. Today, we can easily get plants and flowers from all over the world making every garden unique. With this different styles of cottage gardens emerged.

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What started as an economical way to make small European working men’s cottages beautiful and different, is now a stylish and admired gardening style. Today, these french garden cottages are now in museums, governmental offices, hotels, and expensive real estate around the world.  Since the end of the 19th century, there have been magazines that have glorified and reverred this style of garden. As a result, they have dedicated entire issues to describing the process of planning, planting and tending to them.


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