Cottage Gardens, Dalham, Suffolk

Cottage Gardens, Dalham, Suffolk

A perfect expression of the English Picturesque, Cowern's picture demonstrates how village settlements expanded by gradual accretion, the cottages as much an organic growth as the landscape in which they are set. Surrounded by outhouses and lean-tos, these untidy cottages are the antithesis of the artificial neatness of the 'well-kept' villages of commuters and weekenders that became popular after World War II. The gardens shown here are true cottage gardens -- plots given over to fruit, vegetables and herbs, with flowers providing an incidental splash of colour. The concept of the 'cottage garden' today, as a plot planted with masses of old-fashioned flowers, is an invention of the wealthy: no labourer could have afforded to replace his vegetables with flowers.