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Cottage Garden Accessories

Cottage Garden Accessories

Colourful flowering plants are just one of the ingredients of a successful cottage garden. Equally as important are the traditional and rustic garden accessories, such as birdbaths and sundials, which help to capture the old-world atmosphere. Unlike cottage garden plants which die down in winter, these permanent features ensure that the garden remains full of charm and interest throughout the year.

There are many accessories which are appropriate for the cottage garden. Although it’s increasingly difficult to find geniune old wagon wheels and antique farming equipment, there are many charming pots, arbours, statues and the like which can be brought from nurseries, garden centres and pot suppliers.


A weathervane makes an unusual eye-catching feature for the cottage garden. There are many designs available, with the most popular based on the traditional weathervanes: roosters, sailing ships, flying ducks and hunting dogs. Set the weathervane up high on a shed, garage or gazebo where it will catch the breeze.


A sundial makes an interesting focal point, especially when set on a pedestal in the centre of a herb garden or at the end of a path. Suppliers listed in the 'Nursery Directory' of this magazine can offer you a wide selection.

HINT    Before you buy a sundial, make sure it has been made for Australian conditions otherwise the time reading will be wrong.

Arbours and Arches

Arbours and arches are ideal for showing off colourful climbers, and for framing paths and views. Arches look best placed over a path that goes somewhere in the garden. They are usually constructed from timber or metal.

Bird Baths

Bird baths can be placed in a fairly formal setting, as a focal point at the end of a path or in the centre of a courtyard; or in a more natural setting, underneath small trees or beside a path.

There are many designs available, ranging from simple to elaborate. Generally the simple designs are best suited to cottage gardens. If cats are a problem, choose one with a pedestal, otherwise a shallow bowl can be placed on or near the ground, so that lizards can also make use of it.


An ever-increasing range of statues is available from garden centres and pot suppliers (as listed in the back of this magazine). Most styles work well in the cottage garden, either as a focal point at the end of the path or set against a backdrop of flowers and leafy plants.

Traditional Furniture

Timber, wrought iron and cast aluminium are the most favoured materials for cottage garden furniture. Plastics are cheap and light weight but will usually look out of place.


Seats are an indispensable feature of the cottage garden, and every garden should have at least one or two.

Position the seat so that it acts as a focal point and/or where it can readily be used:

  • · under a shady tree
  • · under an arbour or pergola
  • · in front of a hedge or wall
  • · inside a gazebo
  • · beside or at the end of a path
  • · surrounded by scented plants to catch their fragrance
  • · by a quiet pond


Unlike more formal gardens, pots in cottage settings can be displayed in a mishmash of styles and shapes. The main criterion is to avoid plastic pots – earthy terracotta and brightly painted pots are the best choice for cottage gardens. Larger pots can be used on their own; smaller pots should be placed in groups for greater impact.

Popular styles for cottage gardens include:

  • · troughs, especially for bulbs and herbs
  • · strawberry pots with several planting pockets in the side of the pot for herbs and annuals
  • · chimney pots
  • · half wooden barrels

To learn more about Cottage Garden features, study cottage garden design with ACS Distance Education www.hortcourses.com

Article by John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc.FIOH Principal ACS Distance Education

For more information on courses and books offered world wide through John’s school, see www.hortcourses.com , www.acsgarden.com , www.acsbookshop.com

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