One of these days I'd like to see a study (there probably are many out there that I don't know about) on what makes a person choose a certain garden style. I know a lot depends on the lay of the land, what type of house you have, sun and shade exposure and, of course, personal preferences. What pleases one person may not appeal to another.
This photograph was taken on a hot, sunny day in May 2005 in garden designer Dan Cleveland's cottage garden. Dan grew up in north Georgia and was, as many of us were, influenced by his grandparents' love for growing vegetables and flowers. There's a chicken coop at the back of the lot, so you have a feel of the country in a city neighborhood. When you walk up the steps and into the back yard, you know this is the right style for this place in every way.
Dan has incorporated not only the vernacular aesthetic of the South, but has included English, Italian and French influences, using plants that do well in Georgia. That's sort of the key to this style thing. That is, you can fix your garden to please your eye, you just have to do it with what works in your area.
In this scene, roses clamber up a metal tuteur. Digitalis 'Pam's Choice' intermingles with shrub roses and yellow Iris pseudacorus. The garden is intersected with gravel walkways that are lined with boxwoods and filled in with ferns and hosta. I have more photographs to share later, showing other areas of the garden that are just as entrancing.
Recently, Dan built an addition to the house. A friend and fellow designer said the garden has changed, but that one thing is consistent. It's still a cottage garden, chock full of wonderful plants, and it's spectacular on any given day of the year.