What’s the buzz? Why the cottagecore garden trend is great for bees and biodiversity


Name: Cottagecore gardens.

Age: Very now, but inspired by then, if you see what I mean.

Not really, no. It’s a trend, but it has its roots in the past – literally.

OK. Presumably it has something to do with cottaging? Cottaging … in the garden? No! We’re talking interiors. Well, we were; now we’re talking exteriors. You see?

I think you’re going to have to spell it out. Cottagecore is a vintage trend, about bringing the traditional English countryside to your home. OK so far?

So far, yes. Now it has spread outside: “cosy cottage garden” is the gardening trend of 2021.

Says who? Says a trends report by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Why? And why now? “People continue to seek out the familiar during these less than familiar times,” explains the RHS’s chief horticulturist, Guy Barter.

Pretend you’re Beatrix Potter to escape the global pandemic, that kind of thing? You could see it that way, I suppose.

And how am I going to achieve it? Marcus Eyles, the horticulture director at the garden centre chain Dobbies, told the Herald Scotland: “A cottage garden planting style is relaxing, creating a tapestry of colour year after year from flowering and foliage plants, including annuals and cut flowers.”

Give me some specifics: what do I need to plant to achieve peak cottagecore? Lavender, foxgloves, delphiniums, poppies, lupins and buddleia would be a good start.

Sounds like they will attract insects, too. That’s the brilliant thing about it: this trend promotes biodiversity.

Bees are good, bees are good, as the Shamen once said. Not just good: essential. And in trouble.

What about roses? Absolutely. Rather than formal ones, laid out in neat patterns, you might consider climbers or ramblers: ‘Rambling Rector’, say, which will flower all summer and is, well, especially rampant.

And if I live in a flat on the 11th floor? OK, it’s going to be harder to go the full Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. But if you have a balcony, or even just a windowsill, a few well-chosen plants in pots or window boxes can help you on your way, as well as help the bees.

And I can fill the flat with chintz and pretend I live in a thatched cottage in Suffolk and it’s 1950. That’s kind of the idea.

Do say: “A tapestry in pastel hues, cosy, comforting, informal, that’s the look I’m after.”

Don’t say: “Gardening trends are a nonsense – a garden matures over time.”


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