Cottage Garden Charm

Escape to a hideaway among English roses.

Cottage Garden

Verdant and bursting with life, this garden is a cottage lover’s oasis. Homeowners Michele and Bob Hipolito designed their nearly one-acre yard, nestled in the foothills of La Cañada, California, to evoke the atmosphere of a lush, mossy English garden. Not only do their roses obediently flower, their vegetable garden just beyond the arbor offers fresh organic food all year long. Here are some tips on how to re-create this setting in your own backyard:


Garden Architecture:

The Hipolitos incorporated a large iron arbor into their design scheme to serve as a platform for their showy white climbing roses. The arbor also acts as a break in the landscape that creates a second “room” where the veggies are grown. By dividing up spaces in a large open yard, you create more intimate secluded sections, which also re-create the secret-garden feel.


Walls and Partitions:

While Michele wanted a traditional dry-stacked English stone wall in which large, flat stones are stacked without mortar, it wasn’t a safe option in their earthquake-prone region. Instead, they interspersed Pennsylvania bluestone—their decorative stone of choice—and mortared it in with brick to cover a base wall of concrete block. Layering more bluestone on top to form the ledge added to the handmade, worn look they desired.



Roses take center stage in this setting. The white climbing roses are Madame Alfred Carriere roses. In addition to those, about 40 other varieties grow over arches, along trellises and spill over stone walls. The Hipolitos prefer carefree growth over carefully calculated designs for its relaxed cottage look. The couple keeps their edibles in large 12-foot square raised beds and enjoys seasonal fare, like tomatoes, Swiss chard, squash, beans and onions. However, in the spirit of organic gardening, Michelle sometimes grows veggies in the planters alongside her roses. This, she says, “encourages people to grow their roses organically since their food is just below.”


By Jickie Torres

Photography by Mark Tanner

Styled by Kelly Lloyd


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