Societies celebrate at Tatton
The Cottage Garden Society and the Tatton Garden Society are both celebrating special anniversaries at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park
You don't have to own a cottage to have a cottage garden – that’s the message from the Cottage Garden Society, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
To mark the anniversary and illustrate how the society has evolved, its members are displaying a more contemporary take on cottage garden plants this year.
Rather than using the usual archetypal thatched cottage backdrop for their exhibit, a more modern house will be portrayed on a massive piece of artwork, in front of which will be a pretty selection of cottage garden perennials, annuals and vegetables.
By portraying this more modern house, the society hopes to challenge the idea that cottage gardens are only suitable if you own a quaint thatched home in a picturesque village.
A gardening trend revival
In fact cottage garden style is becomingly increasingly relevant to today’s gardeners, says Jean Roscoe, of the Cottage Garden Society. That’s because the typical traditional style of mixing flowers, herbs and veg together in borders is perfect for the smaller gardens often found at modern homes, as it makes great use of all available space.
'Years ago, the borders were a mixture of flowers, herbs and veg, they didn't waste an inch,' says Jean. 'This works just as well in a modern garden as in an older one.'
Cottage gardens are also usually packed full of plants that are great pollinators and therefore attract bees and butterflies – another garden trend that is making headlines again.
This is welcome news for the society, which was formed in an era when cottage garden planting was becoming unfashionable and being replaced by low maintenance plots with formal planting and hard landscaping.
Golden anniversary for Tatton Garden Society
The show also features an extra-special exhibit from the Tatton Garden Society, which is celebrating 50 years. ‘The theme for our stand this year has to be golden, naturally,’ says chairman, Peter Davies.
‘The design is simple, we do not have great resources. It is rectangular with a diagonal path ending in an arbour. Plantings will be majoring on yellow/orange/golden in flowers and golden/yellow foliage or variegated. What is chosen will depend on availablility of quality plants and what we can grow ourselves.’
The society, set up by 63 founder members in 1962, plans to include space on the display to tell the fascinating story of its history. They now own the freehold of the 28-acre Quinta Arboretum, which is one of Cheshire’s Gardens of Distinction and an RHS Partner Garden.