History of the Cottage Garden

Ref: C2341626

A course exploring what makes a cottage garden. We`ll trace it`s fascinating development from basic medieval plot to the modern form of cottage style gardening today. Along the way we`ll discover sayings and superstitions; old cottage flowers; vegetables and fruit trees; bees, chickens and pigs; the idea of companion planting; and florists` flowers. The course will discuss the difference between the Victorian watercolourists ideas of the cottage garden and the actual cottage gardens of the same period.

Course aim

A detailed look at the history of the English Cottage Garden, tracing its development from the medieval peasant`s garth through to the present day. The flowers, fruit, herbs and animals will be investigated, together with companion planting.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the elements that constituted a medieval garth.
  • Name 10 favourite plants that coittagers considered useful.
  • Understand the meanings of some of the cottage sayings and superstitions.
  • Name a number of 'new' introductions of vegetables vital to the cottage gardens.
  • Explain why the cottage garden has simply become a garden of cottage style flowers.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

History of the Cottage Garden


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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