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There is a lot to be said for authenticity in cottage gardening. The old varieties of plants had a refinement , simple beauty and often perfume lacking in their modern counterparts.
Many were however, lost to cultivation due partly to changes in taste , lack of robustness and being superseded by "superior" newer introductions.
A good case in point was the Paisley Pink of the 18th and 19th centuries. Old documents list dozens of varieties. Now in 2001 there is only one left:- "Paisley Gem".
If you are a "plantsperson", , hunting for these antique flowers is a passion and part of the joy of cottage gardening.
Another way of looking at the style is that not many people have a thatched English cottage, so perhaps authenticity is not that important.
A good compromise is to supplement the old with the modern .