Informal borders and beds drenched in colour throughout summer are prime features of cottage gardens. These may be created with a medley of plants, including herbaceous perennials, summer-flowering bulbs, half-hardy annuals and hardy annuals. As well as brightening up the garden, many of the flowers can be cut and used in flower arrangements. This fully-illustrated guide should help you to pick and grow the right flowers for your garden. It offers advice on essential techniques, and on tackling pests and diseases. A selection of recommended species and cultivars is also included. The "RHS Wisley Handbooks" series is written by leading experts for the Royal Horticultural Society.
The Chairman of the Cottage Garden Society is an apt choice to write this Royal Horticultural Society Wisley handbook to cottage garden flowers. Sue Phillips has long championed this attractive method of gardening so typical of the English countryside - the billowing, overcrowded, colourful medley of summer flowers redolent of old watercolours and overly popular with chocolate box manufacturers. An easy option many people think but without a little care and attention in the planning stages, an overgrown mess. This is an attractively produced, informative guide to this enduring method of gardening. From initial design to choosing the correct plants, propagation and aftercare along with a wealth of helpful hints, Sue Phillips offers a great insight into the history and ongoing pleasure of cottage gardening. Shrubs, climbers, bulbs, annuals and perennials are all looked at, the best varieties suggested and planting uses explained to give even the smallest container a cottage garden feel. As Sue says in her introduction, cottage garden plants are not only found in the country but in towns and on flat balconies too and here she demonstrates this most ably. Part of the RHS Wisley handbook series, this is a comprehensive and concise look at cottage garden flowers, fully illustrated and clearly written. Aimed at both the amateur and professional grower, this is an invaluable addition to any serious horticulturalist's bookshelf. - Lucy Watson
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