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Gardening inspiration from a contemporary cottage garden by Tim Pilgrim | Behind the Garden Gate

May 24, 2024
garden design inspiration from a contemporary cottage garden

This beautiful contemporary cottage garden makeover showcases the best of autumnal colours and textures. Welcome to Oak Cottage, with its garden design by the talented Tim Pilgrim. Situated in Macedon, just an hour northwest of Melbourne, nestled beneath a 100-year-old oak tree, this garden offers a perfect blend of contemporary garden design ideas and traditional charm, with seasonal planting ideas for year round beauty.

Join me, Chloe from Bean There Dug That, as we explore this enchanting autumn garden and see how it has transformed over the past year. This garden, planted only a year ago, has matured beautifully, showcasing vibrant autumnal colours. The sunken garden space, enhanced by staggered plantings, invites you to explore its depths, offering a tranquil escape.

The garden's design thoughtfully incorporates the existing 100-year-old oak tree, creating a unique blend of history and modernity. Tim Pilgrim's expertise is evident in every corner, from the dead seed heads adding texture to the neatly clipped Westringias.

As we wander through the garden, you'll notice the clever use of recycled sleepers to create a retaining wall around the fire pit area, adding both functionality and charm. The garden's cool colour palette, mixed with silvers and the texture of grasses, creates a relaxing and calming environment. The Willow-Leaved Pears, often mistaken for olive trees, add a distinctive touch with their curled leaves.

One of the highlights of this garden is the seamless integration of various plant species to create a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. The oak tree's shade creates a microclimate, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Despite losing a few plants over the past year, the garden thrives with hellebores, ferns, liriopes, and the beautiful oakleaf hydrangea.

The front entrance, with its contemporary cottage garden surrounding a traditional cottage, sets a picture-perfect scene. The use of box hedges right up against the house connects the garden and the house, creating a unified and harmonious space. The Seaside Daisy borders add a tough, drought-tolerant edge that requires minimal maintenance.

Moving to the backyard, we find a spacious lawn perfect for the family's dog to run around, veggie beds for homegrown produce, and a charming potting shed. The removal of a large water tank has opened up the space for Virginia's dream of a beautiful glasshouse. The espaliered apples along the fence promise a productive addition to the garden once they mature.

Virginia, having lived most of her life in a warmer climate, relied on Tim Pilgrim's expertise to create a garden that not only fits the cottage's era but also thrives in the cooler Macedon climate. The repetition of silvery plants like Seaside Daisies, Lambs Ear, and cat mint from the front yard to the backyard ties the spaces together, despite their current differences.

As we conclude our tour, it's clear that this garden is more than just a visual delight; it's a year-round retreat that changes with the seasons. In winter, when the deciduous trees shed their leaves, the garden will still offer beauty with its grasses and perennials ready to burst back to life in spring.

This garden truly belongs on the cover of a magazine (and it WAS!), and it inspires us to consider the seasonal changes and plant varieties that offer beauty throughout the year.

📣 We’d love to hear your favourite features of this garden. Share in the comments below. If you found this video inspiring, click like, subscribe & then share it with your gardening community!

🌱 Tim Pilgrim from Tim Pilgrim Gardens -

🌱 Oak Cottage - 

FILMED ON: Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung & Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung country in Macedon, VIC

BEAN THERE DUG THAT: Your go-to for gardening know-how and access to inspiring Australian gardens - Horticulturist & Garden Coach Chloe Thomson

Grow your gardening knowledge, learn how to keep your plants alive, & garden in any space with Chloe’s online gardening course: SPROUT SCHOOL!
🌱 Sprout School 



🌱 Host: Chloe Thomson 
🌱 Cinematography: Ger Hynes 

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