Who died and made Lupins a ‘cottage garden’ plant?

It’s been niggling me for yonks: people calling Lupins “cottage garden” plants.

Now, either my impression of lace and chintz cottages is wrong (throwing my cottage dwelling childhood into psychological turmoil) or someone somewhere was very confused about labelling Lupins.

Lupin ‘The Page’ in our garden in 2016

Lupins are positively tropical. Look at them! Leaves like Cannabis crossed with Schefflera. Glowing flowers like a Tilandsia puffing on more than just air (probably it’s own Cannabis-esque leaves).

They aren’t the only victims of the “cottage garden” lavender brush of cosiness. We seem to arbitrarily stick plants into categories and say no to using them elsewhere. I’ve always wondered why people restrict themselves.

Do as I do, ignore rules. Rules are rubbish. If you have a tropical garden stick a fox glove in it. If you have a cottage garden, whack a banana in. Let the mayhem unfold and embrace the madness.

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

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