Native flowers in a native cottage garden

A pretty cottage garden that doesn't guzzle water

Our hot summers can really take their toll on traditional cottage plants from the northern hemisphere, yet there are plenty of Australian native plants you can use instead. They will achieve the same cottage garden effect and won’t guzzle as much water.

July 23, 2020
Native flowers in a native cottage garden

Planning your native cottage garden

Traditional cottage gardens usually consist of seemingly random flowering plants, which have been allowed to spread naturally, without severe shaping into borders, hedges or topiary. The ‘rules’ for a native cottage garden are no  different.

  • Choose plants for the foliage colour and shape, not just the flowers. Flowers may only last a week, but foliage can last all year.
  • Put plants into pots for moveable colour. Plants in plastic pots can be popped inside larger, heavier pots and swapped out as the seasons change.
  • Fruit trees and herbs can be added without looking out of place.
  • Garden beds should be well-prepared and mulched.
  • Add natural rocks, rusted look metal edging, white picket fences
  • Let ground covers intrude over paths.

Choose your colour palette

Anything goes! Use a few colours which complement each other or choose a mix which will give a riot of colour. The key to achieving a cottage garden effect is to plant densely and  informally.

Native flowering plants

Here are just a few suggestions for plants which would suit an Australian native cottage garden:


  • Grey Cottonhead (Conostylis candicans)
  • Kangaroo Paw ‘Bush Gems’
  • A few dwarf varieties are ‘Bush Ranger’, Blue Illusion’, ‘Dwarf Delight’ and ‘Regal Claw’

Red and Pink

  • Everlasting Daisy (Rhodanthe chlorocephala – rosea) for a quick splash of spring colour
  • Pink Rice Flower (Pimelea ferruginea) Thomasia (Lysiosepalum involucratum)
  • Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa)

Blue and Purple

  • Blue Leschenaultia (Leschenaultia biloba)
  • Purple Fanfare (Scaevola aemula)
  • Native Violet (Viola hederacea) will create a living mulch in shaded areas


  • Flannel Flower (Actinotus helianthin)

Back arrow white