Well it’s been awhile since my last digging in the dirt. It’s a new year and I have a new garden with plenty of plans ahead. My challenge will be how to fit everything I love into a smallish space. The cottage garden theme will be my goal for the backyard which I have not done for many years leaning towards a drought hardy sustainable garden of recent times. In my previous garden I had fallen in love with Australian Natives and the birds that this style of garden attracts. Now living in a lovely old 1930’s home I would like to marry the garden up with the style of the house that was intended. Creating a garden to suit a house adds value to the property. So it’s off to buy glorious David Austin Roses and romantic soft perennials. My two favourite David Austin roses are ‘Wife of Bath’ and ‘Moth’. These are delightful full bodied and full fragranced floribunda roses. Soft pastels in colour and a long season of flowers. Seaside daisy, ‘Erigeron’ makes a lovely border plant alongside the mauve flowers of the cut leaf daisy, Brachyscome multifida. Ill be adding some Chocolate cosmos which is a lovely 30-40cm high soft perennial with the scent of chocolate in its dark brown daisy like flowers. It goes well with the common butterfly bush ‘Gaura lindheimeri’. Its little butterfly shaped flowers bopping away in the breeze are so cute. There doesn’t need to be any formal lines just pop various plants in spaces to fill gaps and allow enough space between places to almost touch but not over crowd. Good ventilation allows moisture penetration and air circulation to avoid unwelcome fungal attacks. Choose a mixture of foliage texture and colour to give an interesting contrast between plant species. Cottages plants can be either shade loving or full sun so look at your aspect and make sure your selecting plants that suit your situation. Best to pick plants that love the conditions you plant them in rather than fight a losing battle trying to cope with soil and aspects that are not suitable for your selection. It’s easy to maintain a cottage garden if you love to spend time in your garden as it will give you little jobs every week. As plants dye down or finish flowering those species will enjoy trimming and dead heading of spent flowers to encourage new growth. Thin out plants which self-seed and re-plant into new spots or pot up and give to friends. Every garden has a feature or two and I have placed a new beautiful weeping form of Judas tree in the centre, Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’ or commonly called Lavender twist. If you’re familiar with the delightful Cercis ‘Forest pansy’, you will love Lavender twist. Green heart shaped leaves on twisted branches, magnificent bright pink flowers in a topiary form with a size only reaching 2m x 2m. Perfect for small gardens or large pots and perfect for my cottage garden.