Since medieval times in England, there have been what we now call cottage gardens, though originally, they probably were near religious buildings and cultivated by monks.
We now think of them as romantic, informal groupings of plants, herbs, and shrubs surrounding a cottage with a thatched roof. They were informal and over-flowing with color and charm.
Cottage gardens are the product of the homeowner's own work and vision, and William Robinson advised, "Let the flowers tell their story to the heart."
The word cottage is derived from an Old English word "cottar" meaning "tenant." Early on, the plot of ground surrounding the tenant's small home was where edible plants were cultivated—such as cabbages, carrots, and leeks, for example—to be cooked into a stew called "pottage," as well as herbs to be used as medicines.
By the 16th Century, the plots were larger and there were flowers in the beds. The gardens were still mainly green and with bits of color, but naturalistic rather than artistic. Later, however, and probably influenced by the Huguenots who brought seeds and skills from Europe, the idea of growing plants simply for their beauty, not just for their utility, had taken root in England. Gardening had expanded from being a necessity to becoming a national pastime.
Foxgloves, and other flowers now synonymous with cottage gardens, had taken root.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on cottage gardens.