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!





Happy Summer Solstice 2018

My sister and I celebrated Mid Summer's Eve in the garden last night with a Pimm's Cocktail, deviled eggs and garlic farm bread cubes topped with tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette and of course the moon. It was beautiful with the passing clouds. I'm not much of a measurement person, but I'll give you the ingredients for the Pimm's Cocktail: natural ginger ale ( I use one that has extra ginger) cucumber juice (Use the pulp and seeds from a cucumber that has been split lengthwise and strain.) Pimms Put your combo in a tall canning jar, shake and place in the fridge for a few hours and pour over ice in a tall glass when you are ready to serve. Getting the cucumber juice takes awhile, but

Heading to mid-Summer's Eve

The enthusiasm of summer blooms brings joy, but it's been a bittersweet few days. One of Northgate Park's long term neighbors, Janet Neville, passed away at age 87 on June 9th. We attended the visitation last night. The service was today, the 15th. Do we have a connection with that number? (Thurman's supposed birthday 3/15, Milkshake's passing 3/15, Janet's funeral 6/15.) We didn't attend, but went to Durham's dear old Maplewood cemetery to visit her grave today. Janet was one of our last strong links to Thurman and Milkshake. She told me that she had asked God to send her a friend. She said her prayer was answered in the form of Thurman. Thurman lived at one end of the street and Ja

Finally, Some Butterflies

We've had an unusually rainy Spring in 2018. I feel that there have been more cloudy wet days than sunny. This has delayed some blooms and the butterflies. We've got plenty of lovely frogs though. I'm not complaining, just observing. Here's a few shots of the fauna in the gardens. Variegated Fritillary and Echinacea Green (Male) Frog- The yellow throat is indicative of a male. 6 12 18- Eight Spotted Forester Moth- He's sitting on a daylily frond. I originally called this a Mournful Thyris. That was incorrect. I have found a fantastic site for common insect identification. It has all kinds of critters e.g. butterflies, moths, bugs, arachnids. You can see them by state: www.insectide