Brisbane Local Food

Growing local




A Group for those Members who love growing their Herbs, Fruits & Vegetables but would also like to be able to grow Flowers alongside for use as Companion Plants, The House and to Gift to Friends.


My Idea of the Modern Cottage Garden is not that far removed from the Traditional Cottage Gardens of the 1800's, though we do not have Pigs or Horses. We would love to have Chooks but so would the Foxes and Dogs in our area. We do have Native Bee Hives, and would have European Bees but Dianne is Allergic, so we rely on bartering with friends for our honey supply. 

What we do have in our Cottage Garden are, along with our Native Bees, many Beneficial Insects to keep the Bad Guys to a minimum. There are numerous Green Vegetables, Tomatoes, Fruit Trees, Herbs, Perennial Flowers & Shrubs along with many Annuals (these are most evident in Spring & Summer). 

We encourage Companion Planting and you will find a few examples of this in COMPANION  PLANTING in GROUPS

The cottage garden is a distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, it depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure. Homely and functional gardens connected to working-class cottages go back centuries, but their stylized reinvention occurred in 1870s England, as a reaction to the more structured, rigorously maintained estate gardens with their formal designs and mass plantings of greenhouse annuals.

The earliest cottage gardens were more practical than today's, with emphasis on vegetables and herbs, fruit trees, perhaps a beehive, and even livestock. Flowers, used to fill spaces, gradually became more dominant. The traditional cottage garden was usually enclosed, perhaps with a rose-bowered gateway. Flowers common to early cottage gardens included traditional florists' flowers such as Primroses and Violets, along with flowers with household use such as Calendula and various herbs. Others were the richly scented old-fashioned Roses that bloomed once a year, and simple flowers like Daisies. In time, cottage-garden sections were added to some large estate gardens as well.

Modern cottage gardens include countless regional and personal variations and embrace plant materials, such as ornamental grasses or Native Plants not seen in the rural gardens of cottagers. Traditional roses, with their full fragrance and lush foliage, continue to be a cottage-garden mainstay—along with modern disease-resistant varieties that retain traditional attributes. Informal climbing plants, whether traditional or modern hybrids, are also common, as are the self-sowing annuals and freely spreading perennials favoured in traditional Cottagers' Gardens.

Excerpt from Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Members: 6
Latest Activity: May 11

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 11, 2021 at 10:25

Photos of the Seed Production Area I leave the lids on until the seedlings start to emerge.

Back Garden with the new English Style Bench loving it's new home.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 11, 2021 at 9:51

April & Early May Seed Planting - You will see that most of my seed planting is for either or both Edibles, Companion Plants, Bee or Beneficial Insects. A Few Annuals that I am planting out this month are Queen Ann's Lace, Nigellia (you can collect the seeds for cooking), Candytuft, Poppy (w/edible seeds), Sweet Rocket, Virginia Stock, Viola's & Johnny-Jump-Ups, Zinnia, Larkspur, Delphinium, Snapdragon, Chrysanthemum, Nasturtium & Marigolds (edible & great Companion Plants), Sunflower (edibles), Salvia (annual), Wallflower & Cosmos (edibles), Ageratum as well I have planted out seeds of Many Herbs & Vegies for Winter. 

When it comes to Perennials I have put seeds in for Swan River Daisies, Roman Lawn Chamomile (for in-between pavers , flowers edible & for bee & beneficial insects, Erigeron, Cerastium (Silver Carpet), Feverfew, Tarragon (Estragon Sativa), Bunching Onions, French Sorrel (Green De Belleville), Lavender (French), Salvia (evergreen ones), Mexican Marigolds, Grevillea’s (assorted species and cultivars), Buddleias, Grasses, African Foxgloves, Lupins.

There are many other Annuals & Perennial Seeds that I will be planting for the Spring/Summer Garden over the next couple of months, I will list those as I am planting.

Comment by Dave Riley on May 10, 2021 at 20:30

What flowers would you plant now in SEQ in a cottage garden, Dianne?

What perennials do you think are essential in the subtropics for cottaging?

Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 10, 2021 at 14:02

I have read and re-read Christa & Dave's Comments and how I wish for a simpler existence. Your childhood memories do so remind me of the days at boarding school when most of the kids had gone home for school holidays and the nuns would treat those of us left with lovely Morning or Afternoon Teas on the Verandah on the cane chairs, beautiful tablecloths. It was on those verandahs I learned to embroider. Oh, it is nice to reminisce.

Comment by Christa on April 17, 2021 at 10:16

Dave, thanks for sharing those glimpses of the old time ferneries etc.  I remember spending time with some older ladies in Gympie many years ago, who took pride in their verandah display of choice ferns, orchids and cane chairs and pretty table covers and good china teapot for visitors.  The atmosphere was cooling on their verandahs.

They usually had a rose garden out front and 2 palm trees beside the front entrance. A row of beautiful large plate sized gerbera's amongst the roses. The wild asparagus often grew in a corner and used for floral arrangements.  I don't see that prickly plant anymore.

Out the back was a mango and Pawpaw tree and a strawberry patch, those were the days. An elderberry beside the little house, I don't know why, and a chook house.

These places still existed in the late fifties and early sixties.    We tend to mix the flowers with the green trees now to break up the mass of green.  But I still have a fernery and plenty of old staghorns and elkhorns hanging from the branches of the poinciana tree, a legacy of my parents in law.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 16, 2021 at 18:56

Welcome to the Group Dave & Christa. I love the site you sent us to Dave there must have been a heck of a lot of Bamboo around at that time to build these structures.

I do grow Annuals as well as Perennials. I have many Salvias, Cat's Whiskers, Butterfly Bush, Alyssum, Lavenders, Buddleias, Pelargoniums,  Fruit Trees, Vegetables, Loads of Herbs (not only for the Herb Leaves but also for the Flowers for the Bees and Other Insects and our Salads) +++.

We have created a bit of a Micro-Climate so this has enables us to plant a few Spring Flowers and Bulbs that may have not been able to grow without this. We have also created 4 rooms that we are able to sit in, eat in, meditate, and simply enjoy the fruits of our labour.

But how I would love to live my dream of living in Tasmania, then I really could be a 'cottager'. Also I do love the French Pottager template, Perhaps I could look at installing some parts of this into my garden.

Comment by Dave Riley on April 16, 2021 at 18:18

I always love the notion of a 'cottager' for the garden's owner.

I've had a few trad cottage gardens in the past but they need to be adapted to subtropical conditions otherwise they are an early Spring event.

Polyculture is key, I think, and flowers are respected, although I reckon that complicates things in the sub tropics.

I'm thinking annuals...rather than get caught  up in 'perennial borders'.

However, I reckon that here a key feature to consider for a local cottage garden is  some form of shaded nook -- a bush house. Like these.

Otherwise a cottage garden can be a bit hot.

What that means for plant selection may be a complication. Back in the day I spent some time at Diggers cottage garden at Rosebud as my parents lived nearby. Heronswood. Digger's niche then was cottage plants.

Lovely gardens to walk thru back in the early 80s.

But I reckon the French pottager template may be more suitable for Brisbane.

Comment by Christa on April 16, 2021 at 16:53

My thoughts on a modern cottage garden, is that the colour and perfume that can make up a cottage garden, provides us with all types of insects.  This completes the circle in nature.

My choice, is perennials,  colour in plants such as daisies, lavender, salvia and alyssum, geraniums and more. There are not many gardens around that grow only vegetables, there is always a geranium or marigold somewhere hiding in the corner.  Vineyards use roses to show any indication of disease in the vines.

I would love to see the pretty side of gardening and also more flower petals in with the salad. e.g begonia flowers.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 14, 2021 at 17:59

Lovely to see I have some Like-Minded friends, love how you think Sophie. Hope the bread turned out nice Barbara. Graham has set me up with quite a Set-Up for my Seedlings, I was lucky enough to procure 2, 1.8mtr x 1.5mtr 5 tier Nursery Shelving. As a result I am going to have mountains of some Seedlings and some quite Rare ones this year. I will be bringing these along to GV's for anyone interested, the list is too long to post here, will put up what I have ready before each GV. Barbara I have some Seeds of some wonderful Zinnias as well as a few different Alyssum, Aquilegia, Many Herbs, Greens, Pink Calendula, Centaurea & the list goes on & on. Barbara I too am a lover of Gauras have 3 different one in my garden, and I am planting seeds of Beeblossom (Gaura lindheimeri) soon.  

Comment by Sophie on April 14, 2021 at 14:30

Thanks Dianne - I too am very partial to the cottage garden style :) Beauty is a yield as much any of the fruit and veg ;)


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