Monday 23 April 2012

Heart's Desire

Hooray, I’m organized enough this month to join in the Book Review meme hosted by Roses and Other Gardening Joys.

I have my heart set on a cottage garden. With this in mind I checked out of the library “Creating a Cottage Garden in Canada” by Stephen Westcott-Gratton. Don’t let the title mislead you, virtually the same book is published under the title “Creating a Cottage Garden in North America.”

I was initially disappointed to find complete formats were not included. In response Mr. Westcott-Gratton’s book swiped me across the side of the head and said, “Smarten Up! I’m going to give you everything you need to make a cottage garden intended for your pleasure.

Two thirds of the book is a plant by plant guide. Each listing has the usual growing conditions and attributes and also, much to my delight, suggested companion plantings for a range of visual effects. The photograph of light shining through salpiglossis planted with lavender and verbena almost had me weeping with pleasure.

Subjects include climatic variation, trees, structures, paths, boundaries as in fences etc including this snippet, “I live across the street from a grade school and I’ve found old fashioned roses…. furnish a splendid garden margin that in addition to fragrance…..has the advantage of keeping the little angels off the flower beds.”

The rest of the book is packed with information including, but far from limited to, recipes, quotes, hints based on personal experience, money saving tips and biographical vignettes. The history of cottage gardens, traditional plants including pre and post ice age, and the significant introduction of plants by the Romans revealed a story line I can incorporate into the garden if I so desire.

Borrowing this book is no longer an option. I must have my own copy.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful book! Suggested companion plantings sound like a wonderful resource to have, and the history including pre ice age (!) sounds quite interesting! When a book is so valuable you must have your own copy, that is quite a recommendation! Thanks for joining in!

  2. I'm a huge lover of cottage gardens so I bet I would enjoy this book too. I'm going to look for this one.

  3. My garden could be described as a cottage garden, I think, so it would be interesting to read this book, even though I'm a long way from Canada! The historical info sounds good, too. :o)