Traditional English Flowers

Updated November 21, 2016

There are many traditional English flowers to choose from that have been grown for centuries. Featuring classic beauty, many varieties attract butterflies and most offer a wide range of pleasant fragrances. There are annuals and perennials appropriate for full sun, partial sun or shade. English cottage gardens have an informal look with a wide assortment of colours.


Traditional English perennials include flowers such as columbines, delphiniums, carnations (dianthus), English daisies, hydrangeas, cotton lavender, roses and cornflowers. Many have been favourites in English gardens for centuries. Annuals include larkspur, hollyhock, pansies, marigolds, cosmos, forget-me-nots and sweet Williams.


When choosing traditional English flowers for a garden, the colours of the blooms should be taken into consideration, according to English Country Garden. Some flowers may not look good side by side, but could be planted together if they have different bloom times. The overall colour theme of a garden is simply a matter of preference and taste.


English Country Garden recommends planting flowers in groups, rather than trying to plant one of each type of flower. Groups of flowers make a garden look more organised. Consider the size and height of each type of plant when planning placement. For example, hollyhocks and columbines are much taller than sweet Williams and English daisies. Combining different textures and colours can make the garden more interesting. Bulbs should be planted at the correct depth.


Keep in mind that some traditional English flowers like full sun, while others prefer partial shade. Fertile soil and an adequate amount of water must be provided. While some flowers are drought tolerant, additional watering may be needed during dry periods. By using a mix of perennials and annuals, continuous blooms can be assured throughout the spring and summer. Remove any damaged or dead branches or stems. Cutting off dead flowers encourages more blooms. Fertilising your garden can also result in more flowers and longer-lasting blooms. Watch for pests such as aphids.


Not all bugs are bad in the garden. Certain traditional English flowers attract butterflies, such as cornflowers and hollyhocks. Butterflies, bees and beetles are important for pollination. According to English Country Garden, dung beetles and sow bugs are important to the decomposition of dead plants and enrichment of the soil. Dragonflies and lacewings are good because they are predators of aphids and other insects that cause damage.

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