Episode 139: Cottage Gardens with Andrew Sankey

This episode features garden designer, grower, speaker and writer Andrew Sankey. Andrew specialises in English cottage gardens and has meticulously researched the subject for decades, becoming an expert on this style of gardening. He’s recently released a book called The English Cottage Garden and in the interview, we talk about what defines a cottage garden, both in the past and now, the plants and features most commonly found in one and tips if you’re looking to create your own. 

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What we cover

What was a cottage garden historically and what is it now?

How big is a cottage garden?

What hard landscaping elements characterise a cottage garden?

Which planting techniques stand out as most cottage garden-like?

Where does the winter interest come from in a cottage garden?

Using plants as supports for other plants

Cottage gardens and wildlife

Andrew’s 3 essential plants

Edibles in a modern cottage garden

About Andrew Sankey

Andrew left teaching (Head of Graphics/Design) in 1989 to start a Garden Design & Landscaping business in Lincolnshire. He discovered it was very difficult to obtain plants required for designs so started a specialist nursery stocking plants for dry shade/ dry sun.

He went on to organise Plant Fairs in Lincolnshire, Cambs and Norfolk & produced a booklet called the Plant Fair Guide for a number of years.

Andrew moved to a cottage near Woodhall Spa, Lincs in 1992 and created a cottage garden which was opened twice a year for the NGS and other groups.

He became Chairman of the Lincolnshire branch of the Cottage Garden Society and began lecturing on cottage gardens and related subjects (including lecture tours to Minnesota and Wisconsin in the USA).

He’s written booklets on Companion Planting, Cottage Favourites and Sayings and Superstitions and he continues to design gardens and lecture widely on a range of gardening topics.


The English Cottage Garden by Andrew Sankey – The Crowood Press Ltd, 2021

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