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!





Mother Nature in the Metropolis

Beaver Marsh Photo- from the Bamboo Turtle blogger, Jim Lee.* Our urban creek, the Ellerbe, runs through the heart of downtown Durham and beyond. It ultimately empties into Falls Lake which is a man made reservoir for the city of Raleigh. Much of the creek is located in urban areas and consequently is one of North Carolina's most polluted creeks. The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association works valiantly to reduce the amount of pollution (run off and physical trash) going into the Ellerbe through purchases of adjacent land, education, and active trash clean ups. This has also spawned interest from Duke University: a trash trap prototype is being developed with the intent of catching trash be

Record Snowfall at RDU

So it's official, Durham received between 10 and 12 inches of snow! Fortunately, it is melting as I write this. By Friday, things should be pretty close to normal around here. In the meantime, it's still beautiful. This should be the last snow slideshow for awhile. I'm ready for Spring.

Winter Wonderland Jan. 17, 2018

As predicted, we are receiving a beautiful snowfall today. It's still coming down at 3:00 p.m. It started around 8:00 this morning. Here's a winter slide show for you. Hover over the photo if you'd like to see a caption. The photo of Beaver Marsh Preserve and the Ellerbe Creek in our neighborhood park were taken by Ian on his walk around the area this morning. Beaver Marsh Preserve is a real treasure. It is fed by a fresh water Spring behind a strip mall. This Spring also feeds the Ellerbe Creek. Most of the trees that you see in the photos are pines and willow oaks. Part two of the snow day will involve my first roast chicken. I've never roasted a whole chicken, but with some guida

A Bitter January 2018

As of Jan. 11th Durham County is still in Moderate Drought Status. Like most of the country we are experiencing a run of record lows with some snow and ice. A kind neighbor reminded our neighborhood listserv that "Birds Need Water" during this rough spell. Most water sources have been frozen. I have been filling our homemade bird bath which is a small terracotta pot bottom and an upside down flower pot. Most days our garden pond has had water available, but the birds prefer our homemade birdbath as it is easier to access. This big guy (crow) was checking out the pond yesterday. Jan. 14th we had a much needed reprieve from the freezing temps. I didn't get a photo, but a Robin found an

Snow Day Jan. 4, 2018

A light dusting of snow came last night amidst our freezing temperatures. Fortuitously, I have one fancy chocolate left from Christmas which happens to be a snowman. This year I am attached to my Christmas tree. Normally, I am more than ready to take it down on Jan. 2nd. With the promise of snow, I waited. We don't have white Christmases very often here. It is also the best tree I can remember. It's still fresh and the shape is absolutely beautiful. Commemorating this little tree will make me feel better about parting with it . I love the Durham Police Department's humor: Wanted.

New Year's Day 2018

Thank you for following this blog in 2017. It started as a way to entertain myself during a January snow in 2017. It's benefitted me in more ways than one. It has become my garden journal. It's kept me in in touch with a former colleague and friend who is also a lover of gardens. We would have continued to be in contact anyway, but this has encouraged us to share plants, seeds and photos even though we are states and garden zones away. This week a sorority sister looked me up online and found the blog. I'm sure she's happy to see that I've settled down some thirty plus years later (Smile). To my surprise this site has had visitors from fifteen countries. Wix offers great analytical data.