The English cottage gardening style is all the rage in Japan. Below are staples of the English cottage garden often seen in Japan:


Dotty Digitalis

Digitalis, also known as Foxgloves are beautiful but dangerous – all parts of plant are poisonous. Insides of flower are speckled. Remove main flower spike to encourage more flowers to grow (they get smaller though


Delphiniums are popular plants. But I’m convinced now that there is a strong preference for the deep blue sorts of delphiniums here rather than the traditional cottage garden kinds.

Consolida or delphiniums

These are annual Delphiniums called Larkspur (Consolida) popular because they are smaller and require less space.

Pretty in Pink & Purple no. 1

No English garden would do without its primula and tulips in spring!


There are several small gardens around here that seem to have nothing but Bachelor’s Buttons or Centaurea in them. I like the flowers but not the messy leaves and stems.

Creamy whites

Tall snapdragons are another staple of the cottage garden. They come in pink, yellow, white and red colours.

Mixed rose

Roses are the favorite flowers of most gardeners in Japan whether they garden in the English garden style or not.

Pink rose

North Pole Chrysanthemum

North Pole daisies have replaced Shasta daisies and even English daisies because they are more reliable and less susceptible to mildew. They grow quickly and bloom for a longer period too.


Campanulas or bellflowers of some kind are always to be found in the English garden.

Campanula medium, common name Canterbury Bells, also known as the bell flower, is an annual or biennial flowering plant of the genus Campanula, belonging to the family Campanulaceae. They need staking. In floriography, it represents gratitude, or faith and constancy

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The name comes from the old French name Lupine which means “wolf-like”. The plants are legumes and have been cultivated in the Meditteranean region since ancient times for enriching the soil. The seeds have also been sued as food in the Andes though some species are poisonous and cause the sheep’s disease lupinosis. A must-have for an English cottage garden!

Pretty in Pink wildflower

A pink wildflower popping up in our yard, this one’s called hime-jyo-on or ヒメジョオン Erigeron annuus  (L.) Pers.   It has shaggy petals like a doggy mane.  It was originally from North America but has naturalized here.

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Also known botanically as Mysotis alpestris and in Japanese as WASURE-NA-GUSA, the mean the same thing as Forget-Me-Not in English, Japanese or Chinese. The English name originates from the German legend that says that a young man while gathering these flowers for his lover, fell into the river and as he was being swallowed up by the river’s current he threw the flowers onto the riverside and pleaded to hist lover, “Don’t forget me”. In Europe the plant is used for the treatment of lung illnesses. The flower language of blue as symbolized by Wasure-na-gusa is true love.

Cottage favourites


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