One flower that fits very nicely into the free growing English cottage garden is Cosmos bipinnatus.
Their name comes from the Greek word Kosmos which means beautiful and orderly. Although not a native English plant as originally it comes from Mexico, Cosmos has become a favourite in English gardens over the past 50 years.
The plant is graceful and useful in any garden, adding lightness and colour to plantings.
There are two annual species Cosmos sulphureus and Cosmos bipinnatus.
I prefer the bipinnatus because its leaves are ferny and the colours are various shades of pinks from the palest pink to deep rose.
They are perfect for the back of the border, although the plants may require staking.
Actually they seem to do quite well without staking unless you get strong winds and heavy rain - plant them closley and they will help to support each other as well as giving a splendid show!
You can get tall varieties that grow up to 3ft or dwarf ones that look good at the front of beds and borders.
Check out some seed catalogues to find some that will suit your needs.
They also do well in pots and containers.
They are easy to grow.
Cosmos is a half hardy annual Ė buy a packet of seed and sow them inside in February- which will give you flowers from July to September.
Sow approx 3mm deep in temperatures 70 to 75F or 21-24C.
Make sure you donít plant them out until all danger of frost has gone.
The plantlets can have their growing points nipped which will make them more bushy and give you more flowers per plant. However if you just let them grow naturally they will still give you a good display.
If you sow the seeds outside from March to May then you will get flowers from late summer to the first frosts.
A packet of seeds will usually provide 100 plus plants!
They prefer a sunny spot and like well drained soil.
They make good cut flowers