Many gardeners love the lush English Cottage Gardens. On my garden tours to England we visit spectacular flower gardens highlighted by tall perennial flowers. These perennials stand out in the crowd providing height in the back of the garden and an exciting focal point. Some of my favorites are dahlias, delphiniums, lilies and hollyhocks.
When looking at these famous gardens, one of the keys to their outstanding beauty is the grouping of plants. The gardeners don’t plant just one of this and one of that, but crowds of the same variety to strike a bold effect. The other benefit of grouping tall plants is they can support one another. Groups of plants can withstand high winds and driving rain better than a single soldier. Of course, supporting your plants with stakes is another way to insure that don’t snap in the wind. Tie individual flower stalks or groups of plants with VELCRO® Brand Garden Ties. The plant ties are flexible enough to allow some movement, but sturdy enough to prevent the stalks from breaking on a windy day.
Here are some tips on growing my favorite tall English cottage garden flowers.
Delphiniums– Delphiniums, such as the Millenium series, produce stunning tall white, pink, blue or purple colored flowers. Stake and tie them loosely as the stalks form. Once the flowers fade, remove the ties, deadhead and you’ll be rewarded with another flush of blooms in late summer.
Hollyhocks- Nothing says English gardens like a hollyhock. Hollyhocks flower stalks can reach 7 feet tall. Stake and tie individual stems or the whole group of plants as the flower stalks start to form. Once the flowers fade don’t be so fast to deadhead. Hollyhocks need to drop some seed to form next year’s plants, so let the seed heads mature. Once the seeds have finished dropping, then remove the spent flower stalks.
Dahlias– Dahlias are great late summer and fall bloomers. Some varieties, such as the Dinnerplate dahlia, can reach 5 feet tall with 10-inch wide blooms! They need support from flopping over. Place 4 stakes around the dahlia patch and wrap the plant ties around the stakes to support the group.
Amaranth– Although not a typical English plant, amaranth is a popular, tall growing annual flower that will self sow seeds each year. Some varieties, such as Love Lies Bleeding, can reach 5 feet tall. The sturdy stalk may need an individual stake and plant tie support to keep the cascading pink, red, orange or yellow flower heads from flopping and breaking off.