How to give your cottage garden the wow factor all year round

1. Pick plants that are doers: robust and tough. In a cottage garden there’s lots of competition for space so you need the plants you put in to hold their own.

2. Expect there to be down times in the garden. This sort of garden is going to look amazing in summer but will have a quiet season in winter. Plant winter and spring bulbs to help give colour through that down time.

3. Don’t forget scents. The full onslaught on your senses wouldn’t be complete without the smells of the cottage garden, try honeysuckles, roses and lavenders.

4. Throw formality out of the window. Try to avoid straight lines either for paths or planted beds. A winding path making its way through the planting is what you’re after.

5. Get the right plant in the right place. Take care to suit the planting to the soil, the light levels and how much water there is. The plants will be happier, and so, you’ll be happier.


1. The most archetypal cottage plants are the spikes and you really can’t do without them: delphiniums, lupins, foxgloves and hollyhocks. Scatter these liberally through the borders.

2. Roses are up there too, they’re absolutely essential for a cottage garden. Use both bush roses and climbers, the more romantic and highly scented the better.

3. What are generally thought of as mediterranean plants, like lavender and rosemary, are very useful in cottage gardens: scented, pretty and often evergreen.

4. Some taller shrubs are useful in the cottage garden to give some weight and height to the planting. One of the best is philadelphus, mock orange, a great summer scented shrub.

5. Don’t forget the bulbs. Outside of the high summer season cottage gardens can be a bit low key, so use bulbs. Go from autumn crocus to winter iris to daffodils and tulips to get colour right through the winter and spring.

The Sneaky Places Mosquitoes Hide in Your Yard

For these pesky flying creatures, prevention is the best form of control, and it’s time to get working. Once temperatures hit above 50 degrees consistently in your area, any stagnant water in your yard is a ticking time bomb full of mosquito larvae waiting to buzz. Keep tabs on these places:

1. Tarps

If you use tarps to protect woodpiles or to cover your pool, make sure to shake it off once a week. Rainwater that settles in the tiny nooks and crannies can easily become infested with thousands of larvae.

2. Long grass

Mosquitoes love to hide in tall grass. Unless you’re running a bug hotel in your yard, mow thoroughly and regularly — it will make your property less appealing to mosquitoes and more appealing to humans. Win-win!

3. Kiddie pools

“All mosquitoes need is half of an inch to breed, so watch out for kiddie pools,” warns TV host and spokesperson for the National Pest Management Association Bob Vila. In other words: Drain this every time your kids are done playing.

4. Bird baths

This is another place Vila says mosquitos thrive since most people don’t replace the water and just let rain fill is up naturally.

5. Ornamental ponds

Another hot spot! Keep your ponds mosquito-free by adding some gambusia affinis — the mosquitofish — and throwing in a few mosquito donuts.

6. Sandboxes

A shady, damp sandbox after April showers is prime breeding ground for a whole fleet of mosquitoes. Move it to a sunnier area and slather SPF 30 on the kids before playtime.

7. Dog bowls

Your dog needs hydration, but don’t let his water bowl turn stagnant. Provide fresh, clean water every day.

8. Gutters

The Department of Health and Environmental Control calls gutters “one of the most overlooked breeding sites for mosquitoes around the home.” Clean them out thoroughly at the beginning of the season and check regularly to make sure they’re dry.

9. Planters

Get rid of any pooled water in your soil or stagnant water in your saucers. Or fill your planters with these mosquito-repelling plants.

10. Tires

Whether you keep spares in a pile or built an awesome tire swing for your kids, make sure it’s thoroughly dry.