Create an Easy to Maintain Cottage Garden Using both New and Classic AAS Winners
Cottage Gardens are known to require less maintenance than a highly structured formal garden.
Less structure can mean less maintenance and more creativity! A carefree garden can be planted with your favorite annuals, perennials, spring bulbs, flowering shrubs and even vegetables. There are no formal rules for design which means you can create and recreate as your mood changes or your needs shift. That’s the beauty of a cottage garden…it can “grow” with you.
Simply begin with an idea of the colors and plants you like then build the garden around any hard structures (like a fence, walkway or trellis) you might already have in place, plant a base with larger, taller flowering shrubs and go from there. Keep it relaxed, colorful and fun!
Shrubs for your Cottage Garden
AAS is not yet trialing shrubs but here are a few that can fit into most cottage gardens:
The McKana Giant Columbine Mix is loaded with 3″ bi-colored flowers that bloom over delicate, fern-like foliage. Expect vibrant color combinations and visits from pollinators in late spring to early summer from these easy-to-grow plants. Excellent for rock gardens, cottage gardens, and perennial beds. Foliage remains lush and healthy throughout the season after flowers fade. Deer and rabbit resistant.
Artisan Yellow Ombre is a great plant for anyone wanting vibrant color all season long in their perennial garden, or to use as a cut flower. This is the first F1 hybrid echinacea series that comes in individual colors. This winner, with an intense golden yellow bloom along with graduated colors of yellow, is a gem in the garden. AAS Judges were impressed with the uniform growth habit, vibrantly colored flowers, and multi-branched plants that produce a prolific number of blooms. Pollinators will flock to this echinacea, and gardeners will love this low-maintenance, long-blooming beauty. Hardy in zones 4a to 10b.
Sombrero® Baja Burgundy will add a bold accent to sunny gardens with its vibrant, deep violet-red blossoms. The beautiful flower color is without equal among coneflowers and is perfect for cut flowers. After being trialed over three tough winters, the AAS Judges noted this standout’s hardiness, sturdy branching, and floriferous blooming habit. Birds and pollinators certainly flock to this deer-resistant beauty making it a dual-purpose plant. Gardeners will enjoy prolific blooms from mid-summer until the first frost.
This stunning first-year flowering Echinacea captures the spirit of the North American plains by producing a delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red, and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams, and white. This wide range of flower colors on well-branched, durable plants are sure to please the color preferences of any gardener. As an added bonus, ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ offers a wide range of uses from the perennial border, in a mass landscape planting, in a butterfly garden, or as a cut flower.
This AAS Winner differs from other coneflowers for flower color, branching, and plant size. The incredibly vivid deep rose-purple flowers retain color longer. This first-year flowering perennial has superior performance including a basal branching habit that results in more flowers per plant. Expect rapid and uniform flowering at a day length of 14 hours. Reaching a mid-height of 20-24 inches in the full sun garden, it will bloom continually without deadheading or grooming.
The first-ever groundcover Shasta Daisy as well as the first-ever AAS Winner from this breeder! First Light Perennials is a program of first-year flowering perennials that are daylength neutral meaning earlier blooms that continue all season long. Large 3-inch flowers boast a second inner frilly bloom adding to the unique look. Growing only to a height of 6 inches, this unique Leucanthemum can act as a groundcover spreading up to 20 inches wide. Fantastic branching means more flower stems sporting beautiful pure white blooms that look like angels dancing over a carpet of dark green foliage. Hardy in zones 4a-10b.
Sweet Daisy™ Birdy Leucanthemum is a beautiful perennial with robust, long-lasting blooms and carefree longevity in gardens down to zone 3. In the AAS Trials, it demonstrated excellent cold and heat tolerance and maintained a tidy, sturdy habit over the three-year trial. The cheery flowers are large and pure white in color, appearing earlier in the season than the comparison varieties. The 5″ reflexed daisy blooms feature small feathery petals around golden yellow button centers. Enjoy this beauty in the garden as a medium-height bright spot that will provide years of beauty with very little maintenance.
Sensation (an heirloom from 1936) is a tall, showy plant with large, 3″-4″ white, pink, rose, and crimson flowers. Cosmos are a superb choice for wildflower or naturalized areas, as they are drought tolerant and need very little attention. An excellent butterfly lure and cut flower.
Cosmic Orange is an improved Cosmos sulphureus deserving a sunny site in your garden. Cosmic Orange attains a height of about 12-22 inches in a full-sun garden. The vigorous plants provide abundant, bright orange 2-inch blooms all summer. Basically pest and disease-free, Cosmic Orange is adaptable and easy to grow.
The AAS Judges in cooler, more northern climates loved this new compact delphinium that’s covered with gorgeous blue flowers. This seed-propagated variety has great vigor, excellent germination, and is very easy to grow. Cheer’s uniformity makes it a great bedding, container, and landscape plant. With the earlier bloom time and slightly extended flower period into early summer, Northern gardeners will be in blue heaven!
With an outstanding deep red velvety flower color and great branching habit, Calliope® was unmatched in the AAS Trials when compared to other market varieties. Calliope® Medium Dark Red geranium is an interspecific hybrid with zonal-type flowers and leaves. This AAS Winner has a mounded, semi-spreading growth habit with strong stems supporting the flower heads that are loaded with deep red blossoms.
DoubleShot Snapdragon Orange Bicolor is part of a new series of intermediate-height snaps perfect for the garden or as cut flowers. The stunning open-faced double flowers emerge in beautiful warm shades of orange and orange-red that transition to a dusty shade as they age. These stems produced romantic flowers all season long (even in lower light conditions) that didn’t break off in strong winds.
First double flower form snapdragon with a compact habit. The soft shades of peach, yellow, and light orange 1.25-inch blooms are distinct, and no other snapdragon offers this color. Abundant flower spikes on plants nearly 12 inches tall are perfect for bouquets. Easy-to-grow plants will continue to bloom all season in a sunny garden with little maintenance.
Introducing…a beautiful new bicolor Gold Medal Winner addition to the popular Profusion series of zinnias. This gorgeous zinnia starts the season with a bold vibrant red center ring surrounded by golden-yellow outer petals. As the season progresses, the aging flowers morph into soft, beautiful shades of apricot, salmon, and dusty rose to bring a plethora of color to the garden, all from one variety! Trial garden visitors clamored over this floriferous and compact plant during the summer trials noting how well the plant continued to bloom new flowers over old so there was never a decline in the beauty presented by Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor.
A “WOW” color in an easy-to-grow zinnia is what Queeny Lime Orange brings to the garden. Sporting lovely, large, dahlia-like blooms on a sturdy, compact plant, this variety provides cut flower gardeners and growers with a wonderful hue for today’s floral trends. The unique color evolves from dark coral/peach/orange to a light peach with a dark center as the flowers age. In the trial gardens, visitors loved the show-stopping color and large blooms, making it this year’s fan-favorite. This new AAS Winner is also perfect for cut flower gardens as each uniform plant produces prolific deeply fluted blooms that last about 3 weeks without preservatives or feed.