Exuberant Cottage Garden

Like English gardeners, Jon blends the decorative with the functional and makes no distinction between ornamental and edible plants. Cabbages join zinnias and caladiums in the front beds. A cherry tomato plant drapes the post supporting a freestanding outdoor swing in the side garden. The tomato vine turned out to be like Jack’s beanstalk—it kept growing in spite of repeated trimming, finally escaping over a hedge of holly and clambering down the hill. The secret to this prolific growth was a planting technique suggested for growing lavender in the South. Jon dug a bed 2 feet deep, filled it with about 8 inches of coarse builder’s sand, topped it with a fifty-fifty mix of pebbles and good organic soil, and finished with a layer of pebbles. The stones keep the base of the hairy stems dry and warm, and the soil amendments encourage good drainage to prevent root and stem rot.