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!





Feel Good Foods for the Cold

This post is for the cold temperatures and colds! I like so many others picked up a respiratory virus the day before Christmas Eve. I wasn't down for the count until Dec. 26th. My mother came to the rescue. She advised me to drink the turkey broth from our Christmas dinner. We roast the bird and store the drippings in the fridge for future cooking. I skimmed off the fat at the top of the liquid which was now in a gelatin state. I spooned out some of the gelatin into a bowl and added water then simply microwaved the mixture. I ended up drinking the entire thing by the evening. It had an amazing effect on me. It immediately soothed my throat. About three hours into drinking the mult

Winter Solstice 2017

This week I spotted new life in the garden. The blue hydrangea has spread, but not in the way you might think. A branch was touching the ground and dirt covered it over time. Now, we have a beautiful new branch about a foot from the original bush. I've seen that with forsythia, but didn't know that hydrangeas would do that. Then another cool thing happened. I ordered a new Pan/Faun statue as our old one had lost his legs years ago and recently part of his face. Our new Pan/Faun arrived this morning on Winter Solstice! It's a gorgeous day in Durham. We had much needed rain yesterday and today it's brilliant blue sky. Enjoy your start to the return of light!

Verbena Canadensis and Snow

I've had mixed success with perennial verbenas when planted in the ground. I've tried Purple Homestead and Apple Blossom (verbena canadensis). Both of these do well until we hit heat and dryness or should I say when the heat and dryness hits us? In 2017 I decided to pot two creeping verbenas. I deadheaded these after the blossoms were spent. The blossoms came and went in waves as expected. Here we are with snow on Dec. 8th and they are still beautiful. Now, let's hope they overwinter well. I've mulched them for protection and they are close to the house. I do not know the name of this pink. It wasn't labeled, but it is a perennial. I believe Purple Homestead and Apple Blossom would

Grey Fox by the Pond

Ian installed a wildlife camera near the garden pond recently. The camera spotted a first for us. We've seen the usual variety of city animals: possums, raccoons, owls, hawks (and of course cats) but not foxes. I mentioned this to my neighbor on the backside of the property. His reaction, "Didn't I tell you that my nextdoor neighbor saw a coyote in the backyard last summer?" Whaaat! There have been sightings in the Durham City limits, but not frequently. We keep Milkshake the Maltese close when we venture outside at night.