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!





Connections: Tribute to Thurman and Milkshake

Ian and I were blessed to have our little dog named Milkshake. I don't bandy the word blessed around very often. A neighborhood acquaintance, Thurman, who later became a friend, gave us care of Milkshake in July 2016. About ten years ago, I met Thurman at our neighborhood park while walking with other family pets. He had the cutest little Maltese with him named Milkshake. Thurman warned me not to pet him. Milkshake was quite defensive and wouldn't hesitate to snap. Long story short, you quickly learned to admire Milkshake from afar. Several years later Thurman became terminally ill. During this period Thurman and Milkshake would go barreling through the neighborhood together on his m

Late Winter 2018 and the Effects of Record Breaking Cold

Oh, the ups and downs of gardening: arctic cold and drought. Durham County has been upgraded from "moderate drought" to "abnormally dry" just in time for Spring. The arctic weather in January negatively affected two plants in the garden that are classified as being zone 7 thru zone 10. The edgeworthia (paper bush) and mahonia Soft Caress really suffered. I think the Mahonia might be dead. On the flip side, the late winter bloomers Royal Star Magnolia, Tulip Magnolias, Forsythia, Camellia Japonica and Hellebores are thriving. Their cold tolerance is greater than zone 7 plus the last two weeks in February have been gentle so their blossoms haven't been hurt. When purchasing plants I hav