The Happy Cottage

Small Garden Inspiration

This blog was started in Jan. 2017 on a cold bright winter day in my 1945 cottage home.  Photos of the Spring 2016 garden inspired me. Winter is after all, the perfect time for gardeners to daydream of Spring.

Join me for small garden inspiration interspersed with lifestyle.   Please share some of your ideas too!


Many older posts include slideshows, so give the first photo a click to start the show. Categories have been added below Archives to allow easier viewing of past posts: Artful Combinations and Pollinators may give you some good ideas for your garden.  Checkout the Butterfly and Moth Compendium for a catalog of sightings.

My gardening/lifestyle ethos: support Mother Earth and yourself by being as natural as possible.

Don't use synthetic chemicals and weed instead of spray. Include host and nectar plants for pollinators. Favorite garden medium:  organic mushroom compost. It's the soil that mushrooms were grown in.       

Full disclosure:  We do use biological mosquito dunks.


My gardening style has evolved over twenty years to include scent, food for butterflies, pollinators and birds 

and shelter for small creatures.  A multi-dimensional garden will bring you years of enjoyment!



November 9, 2019

Our Indian Summer here was brief this year due to the flash drought.

"Flash" is the term WRAL news used to describe our end of season dry spell.  Fortunately, we had cooler temps and rain in the latter part of October which revived some plants.  I was motivated to take...

October 28, 2019

It's been a long slog for Ian, but by golly he has done a phenomenal job taking our tired vintage pink bathroom to a bright contemporary look.

He finished the project this week.  The bathroom has been in a state of transition for ninety-five days.   


September 22, 2019

Spring and Summer of 2019 were unusual in that we had record rain fall.  Initially, this was good, however powdery mildew impacted the Salmon Queen zinnias and even a butterfly bush that receives part sun.  Sometime in August the waterworks stopped.  September has cont...

August 14, 2019

We had a beautiful rain yesterday as storms passed through.  This morning lots of pollinators are gracing the front garden.  The front gardens are messy, but the pollinators don't care.  We typically have a long Indian Summer in the Piedmont, about three months worth....

July 27, 2019

The amazing amount of rain this year has impacted one of my part sun garden areas in the back yard.  The tall red bee balm has flourished and spread.  The butterfly bushes are limping along with yellowed leaves and even a black fungus on some limbs.  The pink echinacea...

July 3, 2019

Our garden progresses from gentle colors in Spring to hot colors for summer.  Being a person who prefers tertiary colors, I look for plants that have multiple shades in the same color range.  Here are a few plant suggestions that work in our sunny areas of the garden....

June 21, 2019

The day is beautifully bright and windy.  More thunderstorms are coming tomorrow. This will be a quick post, but I wanted to send Solstice greetings.  By the way, check out yesterday's Variegated Fritillary post.

 Salmon Queen Zinnia

The mighty Willow Oaks.  Th...

June 20, 2019

Here's a short catalog of the Variegated Fritillary coming to life starting with the caterpillar on the Passion vine.  This photo is really from last Fall, but I didn't take a picture of our "current" caterpillar this Spring. 

 One day our caterpillar was gone.  Yo...