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!





Late April 2018 Gallery

I'll start with another beautiful plant that came to the garden as a gift. I received this gorgeous bearded iris in Winter 2017. This is the first year it's bloomed here. Xiaomei and Joe graciously gave us this plant from their Chapel Hill garden. The color was thought to be white, but we had a beautiful surprise when it turned out to be a periwinkle blue with white and purple sepals. Fully opened The Firewitch dianthus actually scented the air this year. I've had it for several years and never noticed such a sweet scent. I thought it was from another plant until I got on my hands and knees to confirm that it was indeed the dianthus with the perfume. I think that the chartreuse Creepi

Lavender Lavinka Columbine

In Spring 2017 Julie B. gifted me with two beautiful columbines from her yard in Ft. Wayne. They are hybrids from her garden. I carefully tended these as years ago I managed to kill a beautiful bloodwort plant also known as bloodroot that she sent me. It was sad for the plant and embarrassing for me especially as I've since learned they are native plants in Eastern North America including the Piedmont. It didn't survive our summer heat and dryness that year. On to a success story...... The columbines survived the summer and moderate drought of Summer/Fall 2017! They even survived our record breaking number of hours below freezing in the winter of 2018. I planted these in an establis

Amazing Bouquet

My good friend Julie sent me some photos of her daffodils in Ft. Wayne, IN, plant hardiness zones 5b and 6a. Durham's hardiness zones are 7a and 7b. Our daffodils are spent now. Julie's were going strong April 10th, but she still needed to rescue some from their rains to make a beautiful bouquet. Julie's daffs after the rain battered them. Amazingly, she washed them off and worked her magic on the bouquet. Before the rain. Thanks for sharing Julie. You have great gardening and floristry skills! I also see you use a lot of mulch. It's definitely working for your bulbs.

Natural Supports for your Garden

You may have noticed that I've taken a hiatus from the blog the last two weeks. There was a lot of grief over losing Milkshake. It's been less than a month. Mother Nature hasn't been easy on us this month either. February was warmer than March, "According to WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss, March was colder than February this year by the biggest drop recorded in Raleigh's history." We are in Durham, but Raleigh is just down the road. We've also been rated as abnormally dry by the NC Drought Management Advisory Council. Yesterday, we had a dreary, but much needed day of rain. Long story short, I'm feeling better today. So, I'm back in the garden blog business. :) I've always been en