In my novel, Greening of a Heart, I mention Margery Fish (1892-1969) whose garden survives at East Lambrook Manor. I have seen this garden and read the delightful book she wrote about gardening with her husband. Margery is closely associated with cottage gardening. I highly recommend @We Made a Garden, first published in Britain in 1956, the classic story of a unique and enduring English country garden, and an often hilarious look into this marriage and gardening partnership. For a quick tutorial, but not as much fun, Wikipedia mentions this about cottage gardening.
The cottage garden is designed to appear artless, rather than contrived or pretentious. Instead of artistic curves, or grand geometry, there is an artfully designed irregularity. Borders can go right up to the house, lawns are replaced with tufts of grass or flowers, and beds can be as wide as needed. Instead of the discipline of large scale color schemes, there is the simplicity of harmonious color combinations between neighboring plants.
Here is a quote from Greening about a cottage garden in the novel.
“Mid-afternoon Hannah leaned her bicycle against the low stone wall in front of St. Agnes cottage. She stood for a moment taking in the profusion of her favorite cottage plants in the front garden. She knew they’d been carefully selected for their color and form, however randomly planted they appeared. This was the charm of a cottage garden, a style that was profuse, even slightly wild.”
For wonderful cottage garden images, visit my Pinterest board: English Cottage Gardening.