Cottage jugs and pitchers

Silk of Joy Hobnail glass Water Jugs from Ibbi Interiors
Photo courtesy of Ibbi Interiors

Surely an absolute country interiors prerequisite? Dump some flowers you have pulled out of the garden into a jug. Alakazaaam! Magic: the house looks loved and cherished and very cottagey. Obviously I don’t do this, I forage, I curate, I spend hours carefully placing blooms into jugs dotted around my cottage to bring joy and floral reassurance to this humble dwelling….yes, I leg it to the next field pull up some daisies, scrabble in the ditch for the pretty pink weed flowers, drag a reluctant rose out of the rose bed, hunt high and low (mainly low) for the scarlet pimpernel of my flower growing attempts: the poppy, then get fed up and dump them…gently arrange them… in a jug.

My Jug. Mine. Happy Birthday me.
Photo courtesy of Ibbi Interiors

The glorious Ibbi ladies who have the most beautiful website stuffed with colour and happiness for your home (and they are based in Northumberland my place of birth and where my parents still live which makes them even more brilliant) have super generously “I am in love with your hobnail jug, actually in love, it is the jug of my dreams. It will be the best birthday present ever and I have been a really good teacher this term” given me this most beautiful birthday present. It is a “silk of joy” (my goddaughters favourite expression for something heavenly) jug. It sparkles in the sunlight when full of water for the table and it queens it over the room when filled with flowers.

Ibbi interiors describe that “Life at Ibbi is about mixing the old with the new, the bold with the subdued and finding super cool, delightful touches to give any home a distinctive style”. If that doesn’t sum up exactly how I want my country cottage to look then …(my son): ” I am a poohead”, (my daughter): “I may as well not be living)…(me): I may as well move house. When I asked Ibbi how to create the English Country Cottage look they said:

When we think of that quintessential romantic country cottage look, we think comfort & cosiness: faded florals, bold embroideries, vintage accessories and an effortless mix of old and new. Small pops of colour – particularly with flowers- creates character too -which is why we love these jugs so much- we fill them with wild flowers from the garden and pop on the kitchen table- bringing nature indoors works every time!

Ibbi Interiors

Click on or have a look at their Instagram page for more characterful, colourful pieces.

I turned to the floral experts to help me explain why the humble jug is such a cottage staple. The lovely My English Country Cottage garden expert Karen (FlowersandlifestylebyMargot) grows her own flowers – see her fabulous weekly blog on here about her cutting garden progress – and explains why a jug is such a useful vessel for flower arrangements (which is definitely what I do):

The feel of a floral arrangement can be very much determined by what you are putting your flowers in. One of my favourite vases is the good old kitchen jug. The narrow opening means flowers don’t splay out too much, creating support for the blooms and creating a lovely relaxed arrangement. I always take one out with me to the garden, so I can snip and pop flowers straight in, letting the garden dictate the arrangement.

I also sought the advice of Pippa Janey who wrote and styled the article in Period Living Magazine about our house back in May. Pippa brought the most amazing array of jugs and vases as well as her own flowers from Pippa’s plot. I asked Pippa why a simple jug is so intrinsic to a cottage style, as she explains oh her instagram page: “my style of floristry seems to be just cram it all in!”. I wish this was true – Pippa has the most amazing eye for colour and shape but her go to for country style is a basic, enamel jug, the perfect complement to country florals:

A jug or vase really completes a bouquet. Part of the joy of flower arranging is finding the right shape, colour and size of jug to set your display off. I’m particularly drawn to green enamel as it sets off the colours of bright flowers, and if it have chips and scrapes all the more characterful!

Historically cottage gardens were never planned but were an abundance of flowers and vegetables planted wherever there was space. I love picturing scenes like this of old cottage gardens billowing with colour. Just like their informal approach to planting I imagine cottagers would have used anything that come to hand to hold bunches and pickings such as jugs, stoneware jars and even teapots – displaying flowers in jugs is a homage to these simpler times and takes me to these nostalgic places in my head!

Pippa Blenkinsop Style Editor at Period Living Magazine

One of my favourite companies that make country style jugs is Hogben Pottery, a family business run by Jane and her husband with Jane’s artist sister and team of potters, all the jugs are traditionally handthrown and handpainted. Situated close to The Chiltern Hills, Jane says that she draws inspiration from “nature, including from the pottery’s vegetable garden and from the many canine characters I meets on my walks with Freddie the fox terrier”. Each design brings another element of country style to the humble jug.

A utensil as simple as a jug can create the sense of country cottage, whether it is a pared back handthrown rustic jug, a enamel pitcher or even a glass jug of light delight, they all lend a sense of relaxed, informality to a scene. The perfect English Country Cottage accessory.

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