The English Country Garden
I grew up in a gardening family in England, even though the green thumb seemed to skip me, I love to relax in a pretty garden. My mum and dad, sisters and brothers were all avid gardeners and the sight of a pretty English country garden always lifts my heart.
In fact the song “An English Country Garden” was very popular in England and is one that my mum would often sing. Even though it was sung my an American singer Jimmie Rodgers, it reached number five in the British charts in 1962
If you travel through rural or suburban England you will see that the typical garden seems different to most of those in the USA. An English garden usually has a more natural and informal layout, lush vegetation and wide variety of flowering plants. Generally homes have smaller yards and gardens so lawns, if there are any at all are much smaller.
You will often see gardens with borders that will be filled with a mix of annuals, perennials and biennials; these provide a colorful and changing display through all the seasons. Typical border flowers would include roses, delphiniums, lupines, foxgloves, lavender, and peonies.
Your typical English garden has an informal layout, you can often find meandering pathways and built up rockery’s that add structure and interest to the garden. As kids we always had fun on trips finding pebbles, pretty stone, rocks and boulders for mum and dad to use in the garden. The rockeries were then interspersed with plants and flowers that would stand out beautifully against the stones. These additions take away the flat manicured look that is more often seen in American gardens
The flower beds often have an irregular shape. The whole design creates a relaxed naturalistic atmosphere. Cottage garden plants are frequently used in an English country garden. These include plants like hollyhocks, daisies, poppies, sweet peas, and daffodils. They contribute to the informal and rustic charm of the garden.
Some of the more popular English garden favorites are often more challenging to grow in the USA due to difference in climate and environmental conditions. The English climate is moderate with temperatures rarely reaching extremes and the steady rain that England is famous for provides a good level of humidity and moisture.
Rhododendrons Azaleas and Delphiniums thrive on cooler and humid climates and will struggle in regions with hot dry summers like the southwestern states. Foxgloves are biennial plants their tall flower spikes and tubular blooms prefer cool partially shaded environment so they also do not do well in hot arid climates. Camellias a beautiful evergreen shrub known by their beautiful waxy flowers cannot thrive in extreme temperatures and many areas of the USA have hot summers and very cold winters. Primroses and sweet peas, two pretty flowers found in many English gardens also thrive in cooler moister climates so are difficult to grow in most US states.
However, with careful consideration of microclimates, soil amendments, and diligent care it may still be possible to cultivate these plants successfully in certain regions of the USA
Hedges, picket fences or low walls are generally used to create a sense of privacy and enclosure while still blending harmoniously with the landscape.
The English are fond of supporting wildlife and their gardens provide shelter for bird’s bees and butterflies, bird feeders, bird baths, nesting boxes and areas with wildflowers or native plants are common features
To enjoy the garden, seating areas are often scattered throughout the space. These may include benches, wrought-iron chairs, or rustic wooden tables and chairs, inviting visitors to relax and appreciate the surroundings.
Above – My father smoking his pipe and enjoying his garden. Unfortunately I only have the photo in black and white so you cannot see the pretty colors of the flowers.
England is famous for rose gardens and many towns and cities have parks with incredible rose gardens that visitors can enjoy
Much of the fine china cups, saucers and teapots for sale on our website display the pretty flowers and plants found in the English garden
Overall, an English country garden is a picturesque and charming space that celebrates the beauty of nature. It combines a mix of flowers, greenery, and natural elements to create a romantic and idyllic outdoor retreat.