A lovely article sketching something of the history and the future of edible cottage gardens by Justin Russell.

Here are 5 elements of a cottage garden according to Fine Gardening magazine:

Element #1: “A low fence or stone wall often encloses the garden and is a vehicle for plantings”.
Element # 2: Berry and vegetable plants, as well as fruit trees, reflect an emphasis on self- sufficiency.
Element # 3: “Common flowering plants, especially fragrant ones, grow in profusion.”
Element # 4: “Abundant and rambling plants grow right up to the house or other structures”.
Element #5: “Self-sowers are encouraged”