The familiar jumble of the cottage garden has evolved from a strange mix of prairie and woodland natives. I say strange because dame’s rocket and cone flowers require very different conditions and yet they happily coexist in the sunny border like they were meant to grow together.

Their care free blooms fit into the second tier of the sunny border since they are usually three to four foot in height, tall enough to raise their heads above the wild grasses or catch the precious sunshine dappled through rare tree foliage.

Between the sun lovers - daisies, cone flowers, asters, liatris, butterfly weed, tickseed, verbena, chamomile, lavender, sage, larkspur, penstemon, milkweed and yarrow - and the woodland natives - bee balms, lobelia, bluebells, cardinal flowers and anemones - the garden is never at a loss for color or fragrance and an attractive haven for a host of humming birds, butterflies and bees.

Creating and maintaining a thriving combination of these plants requires patience, abundant sunshine and a lot of space. The plants need two to three years to come into their own, that is just enough time for the perennials to mature and for the annuals and biennials to settle into a reliable pattern of self-propagation.

The good part about native plants is that they are resilient and very well adapted to the soil and weather in your area but don’t expect them to behave or limit themselves to where they were planted: at heart they are still wild, barely different from weeds.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.