Cottage garden trees are usually productive – apple, pear, plum, greengage, damson, cherry, mulberry, quince and medlar are all ideal and dwarfing root stock means that there should be room for at least one tree even in a tiny garden. If you have the space for a mulberry, you will enjoy a fruit that is impossible to buy in the shops because it just doesn’t travel – except from the hand to the mouth! But for a mulberry you will need a reasonably large garden as it is quite a sprawly tree. Whichever fruit trees you choose, it is worth spending time to get the right variety – with any your trees will be with you for many years and it would be a pity to select a commercial variety which has been bred for its ability to look good on the supermarket shelf, rather than to taste sublime. Many of the bushes in a cottage garden are similarly fruitful – currants, gooseberries and raspberries can have their own dedicated patch (and fruit cage to keep the birds at bay) or be fitted into the borders wherever there is a suitable sunny spot. Of course flowering bushes have their place too: roses are a must, especially fragrant varieties (not necessarily old-fashioned roses – David Austin English roses are fragrant, flower for longer and are generally more disease resistant). Flowering shrubs can have a fairly brief moment of glory and then become rather dull for the rest of the year, so choose carefully, especially where space is limited. For example, lilac is much loved, but is only suitable for a garden where there is space for it to look less than glamorous when it is not in flower.
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Cottage Garden Perennials