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!





Hurricane Harvey

We are expecting the remnants of hurricane Harvey to arrive in the Triangle Thursday afternoon. Tuesday we had light rain from a tropical system. While, I am glad for the rain it is tinged with sadness for the people in Texas and Louisiana. "Happy" photos of the garden will be posted next week. It doesn't seem appropriate at the moment. I just read that the wonderful Sandra Bullock has donated one million dollars to the Red Cross. The Happy Cottage is also supporting the Red Cross and the Humane Society. It is heartening to see how so many are helping the hurricane victims in so many ways.

Eclipse Tree Shadows

I didn't have any eclipse glasses, but I did have fun with the eclipse shadows. I know there are millions of these eclipse shadow photos, but now I feel like I'm part of the cosmic event. We experienced 92.4% totality in Durham, NC. Eclipse shadow thru Maple tree Eclipse shadows Gresham Avenue Eclipse shadows walkway to house Eclipse shadows thru a car window Eclipse shadows from the front door Eclipse shadows on the Happy Cottage Eclipse faeries? The leaves picked up pieces of sunlight in the photo. The tree photo was taken before the peak of the eclipse. The sky is still pretty bright. The best shadows started around twenty minutes before peak.

Reds for the New Sun bed

Last week, I was browsing the Home Depot garden center and came home with reds for the new border next door. We are adding plants a section at a time, as we have a blank slate. Too much time and money is required to do it all at once. We started with yellow, pinks, purples and white at the far back: Chaste tree (purple/blue) Knockout roses (yellow), Veronica Fascination (lilac), Gaura Sparkle (white), Liatris (purple), Balmy Bee Balm (magenta purple), Encore Autumn Azalea Carnation (pink), Little Princess Spirea (pale pink), Fairytale Peach day lilies, and a Cherokee Dogwood (pink). Hopefully, we'll have good results in 2018 with photos to show you. We over estimated the amount of sun

Early Amethyst Beautyberry

This is callicarpa dichotoma, not the native American callicarpa americana. Fortunately, the birds enjoy it anyway. Another visitor- I'm pretty sure it's a Catbird.

The Imperial Moth

I spotted this impressive creature outside the dining room window on August 7th. This beauty is similar to the Luna moth in life cycle: one of the host plants is the Sweet Gum tree, when they have wings their sole purpose is to mate, they don't have mouths for food. Dave's Garden has more information. I was lucky to see this moth as they are night flyers. He chose to remain on the white siding all afternoon. The moth left in the later hours of nightfall. We had an evening rain storm which kept him in place for awhile. Just wonderful! Another good reason not to use pesticides.

Butterflies and Moon Flowers

Apologies for the delay in posts. Tis the season for flowers and plants to be in survival mode here in the Piedmont. Hot and dry are the buzzwords. Though, I do have a couple of bright spots for you. Monarch butterfly. He is not a Viceroy. He is missing the horizontal black line on the hind wings. I haven't planted milkweed in a couple of years as they attracted a type of beetle which ate the Monarch caterpillars. They looked like turbo charged ladybugs, but were a brighter orange. I'll try again, but want to make sure these critters aren't around anymore. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. After seeing so many Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars on the dill, I'm surprised I'm not seeing t