The Australian Cottage Garden

The Australian Cottage Garden

Article from RCA Villages' Evolve Autumn 2018 magazine

Australian native plants are beautiful as well as environmentally savvy so it is no surprise that native plantings are popular with landscapers and gardeners today. This makes so much sense in our water restricted environment.

Forget the idea that native gardens are not as lush and pretty as their European counterparts. New cultivars have introduced a broader colour palette and the foliage and flowers of natives are back in vogue, especially when paired with contrasting plant groups in rambling, cottage garden styles.

There is a massive range of compact native shrubs that make for outstanding feature shrubs, border plants or striking, low-care potted plants. Flowering trees, climbers, shrubs and groundcovers are now available from almost any nursery; however, it is always useful to chat with a native plant specialist to be sure you’ve chosen the right plants for your garden. Here are some of our favourites to get you started.

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Clematis aristate

Old Man's Beard

Old Man's Beard, is a vigorous climber found in the eastern states of Australia. Flowering in spring, it produces masses of creamy white star shaped flowers borne on short branches. For best results, this evergreen should be grown in deep cool soil with overhead shade and trained to cover a support such as a trellis or pergola. They are exellent companion plants – as they don’t damage other plants they climb on – and are also suitable as a ground cover.

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Prostanthera ovalifolia

Mint Bush

Mint bush is an evergreen medium shrub which bears a profusion of purple flowers in spring. The foliage emits a minty aroma, especially when crushed or brushed past. Mint bush works well for near an entertaining area or as a hedge, screen, as well as for ornamental use, container growing, and cut flowers. It is bird and native bee attracting and has the added bonus of being frost and drought tolerant.

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Standard Grevillea

Ruby Red

Standard grevilleas can be used in a cottage style garden and look stunning. They are also great alternatives to plants like weeping cherries - because they're hardier and they flower for a much longer time – and, because they are evergreen, use them instead of a weeping standard rose. For gorgeous red flowers try the Ruby Red variety.

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Brachycome iberidifolia

Swan River Daisy

Swan River Daisy’s lacy foliage and small but profuse blue-purple flowers have a long season of impact in the garden. The compact, bushy shape, pretty fragrant flowers, and gray-green leaves make the Swan Daisy attractive from planting time through frost. It will reward you with a such a heavy blooming that the foliage is often obscured. ‘Blue Zephyr’ has especially fine foliage and only reaches about a foot high. It is wonderful in hanging baskets, window boxes, or other containers, or at the front  of a bed or border.

Main Photo by April Pethybridge on

Grevillea photo (insert) by Content Services Melbourne

Other images: from Evolve Autumn 2018

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of a move to a modern retirement village around Melbourne. Booking a tour at one of the RCA Villages around Melbourne can be a great place to start. Visit the website of the village in the region you would like to visit for contact details.

South East Melbourne

Mornington Peninsula

Western Melbourne 

Ask about RCA Villages no deposit reservation process on new villas.

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