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Cottage Gardening 101: 8 Tips for Cultivating Beautiful Gardens in Haliburton:

Garden ready to be created

Cottage gardening in the Haliburton Highlands offers a unique opportunity to create stunning landscapes that blend seamlessly with the natural beauty of the region. Here are some tips and advice tailored specifically for cottage owners looking to cultivate beautiful gardens in our up north gem climate:

  • Native Plant Selection: Opt for native plants that are well-suited to Haliburton's climate and soil conditions. Native species are adapted to the local environment, making them more resilient and easier to maintain. Consider plants like Eastern Red Columbine, Wild Geranium, and Black-Eyed Susan for vibrant blooms throughout the seasons.

Wild Geranium
  • Cold-Hardy Varieties: Haliburton experiences cold winters, so choose plants that can withstand frost and snow. Hardy perennials like Siberian Iris, Coneflowers, and Sedum are excellent choices for their ability to thrive in colder climates.

  • Deer-Resistant Plants: If deer are common visitors to your cottage area, select plants that are less appealing to them. Deer-resistant options include Lavender, Russian Sage, and Ornamental Grasses, which add beauty to your garden while deterring hungry wildlife.

  • Rock Gardens and Alpine Plants: Utilize rocky areas or slopes to create charming rock gardens filled with alpine plants. Species such as Creeping Thyme, Stonecrop, and Alpine Aster thrive in well-drained soil and add texture and color to rocky landscapes.

  • Drought-Tolerant Plants: While Haliburton enjoys ample rainfall, drought conditions can occur during the summer months. Choose drought-tolerant plants like Lavender, Butterfly Weed, and Russian Sage to conserve water and maintain a lush garden even during dry spells.

Butterfly Weed
  • Mulching and Soil Amendment: Mulch your garden beds to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and protect plant roots during temperature fluctuations. Additionally, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve soil structure and fertility.

  • Seasonal Maintenance: Stay on top of seasonal maintenance tasks to keep your garden looking its best year-round. In spring, clean up debris, divide perennials, and apply a balanced fertilizer. Summer calls for regular watering, deadheading flowers, and controlling weeds. Fall is the time to plant bulbs, clean up spent foliage, and prepare the garden for winter.

  • Landscaping with Natural Elements: Incorporate natural elements such as rocks, driftwood, and native grasses into your landscaping to complement the surrounding environment. Create meandering pathways, cozy seating areas, and inviting outdoor spaces that encourage relaxation and connection with nature.

Garden with Stone Pathway

By following these tips and tailoring your gardening approach to Haliburton's unique climate and landscape, you can cultivate beautiful gardens that enhance the charm and allure of your cottage retreat.


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*Melanie Maxwell-Hevesi is the McGillivray Trusted Agent for Haliburton County

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