The Happy Cottage

Small Garden Inspiration

This blog was started in Jan. 2017 on a cold bright winter day in my 1945 cottage home in Durham, NC.  Photos of the Spring 2016 garden inspired me. Winter is after all, the perfect time for gardeners to daydream of Spring. Please join me for real world small garden inspiration interspersed with lifestyle.  

Visit the "Butterfly Compendium" to see a catalog of pollinators in the garden and host plant information.  View this and other favorites in the Featured Post section of the blog.

Gardening/lifestyle ethos at The Happy Cottage: support Mother Earth and yourself by being as natural as possible. Avoid the use of 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 pollinators, butterflies, birds and shelter for small creatures.  A multi-dimensional garden will bring you years of enjoyment!





Spicebush Swallowtail

We are waiting for butterflies now. Late summer and Fall often prove to be butterfly season here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Today, I was lucky enough to see a Spicebush Swallowtail feeding on the potted pink verbena (perennial), the white butterfly bush and the Black and Blue sage. I also spotted a Fiery Skipper just hanging out on the butterfly bush leaves.

Mid July Zone 7 Gallery

Our next wave of plants is coming forth. These photos were taken July 10th and the 11th before our hottest day of the year to date. The high today is predicted to be 97 degrees. We've had a very gentle summer, so far. The plants are suffering at the moment, but will recover when night falls. Hibiscus in the garden pond. It's about seven feet above the water line. You can cut the stems back in Spring to have a shorter plant. Third wave of Neon Spirea blooms. I trim back parts of the bush throughout the growing season to encourage a longer bloom period. Annual Salvia. This was a gift I received at least fifteen years ago from a dear neighbor and friend, Clara M. They happily re-seed thems

Fragrant Angel Echinacea

Are you yearning for cool crisp white and green in the middle of summer? Fragrant Angel Echinacea provides a long season of blooms, light fragrance and food for the pollinators. I purchased two of these from three years ago. I have them in a part sun position in the garden. New Fragrant Angel blossom July 1, 2017 July 9, 2017- evening The flower cone protrudes nicely as the flower matures. Proof of pollinators. The bumble bees love this.

Happy Fourth of July!

Be grateful for our freedoms here in the tumultuous USA! I had hoped to provide a photo from my yard of Red Bee Balm, Black and Blue sage, and White Fragrant Angel Echinacea; however, the red Bee Balm's blooms are spent. I went to my sister's house today and there was the answer on her front porch. Enjoy the day! Red Geraniums, White petunias, Blue Ageratum Cordyline "grass" and pink vinca are also in the plant stand. Since my sister is enamored of doggies. I'll include her photo of Carly. She's baby sitting her this weekend.

Exotic Blackberry Lily

This late season bloomer adds an exotic touch to the meadow style garden bed in the front yard. The flowers are best seen up close as they are not big and bold. The second photo gives you a better size perspective. These plants re-seed after dark blue berries form. If you are in a gentle climate zone for plants, this might not be for you. I've read several comments that indicate they can be invasive. Our heat and dry spells have prevented this from being a problem in my Piedmont, NC garden. Helpful information from NC State.