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 Generation Monarch

I'm still learning about Monarchs. I knew they produced multiple generations on their path southwards. I didn't know that the generation born in Fall actually flies all the way to Mexico, overwinters and then mates to produce the first generation. Here are two great links about the Monarch generations: Monarch Lab and Monarch Butterfly USA. I'm still seeing Monarchs pass through our yard. It's Oct.20th and the clouds are breaking up. Sure enough, I found another Monarch on the butterfly bush a moment ago. The photos are too dark to use though. The lantana, butterfly bushes and coreopsis plants are still blooming in late October. Maybe, we'll get an Indian summer after all. The Heavenl

Mystery Weed Fall 2018

I think it's a Small Woodland sunflower, but who knows? I've been trying to find a match online, but it can be difficult to pinpoint. We're staying inside today as the remnants of Hurricane Michael pass through Durham. We've had steady rain, but now the wind has really picked up. A cold front is meeting a warm front and things are getting a little dicey. Hopefully, no trees or serious branches will come down. So back, to sunnier times. Mystery sunflower complete with tiny white spider, Oct. 7, 2018 Could this be Helianthus schweinitzii? I found this on a native North Carolina web site, Jan. 18, 2019. How nice of these plants to be on either side of the bird feeder. Did I do that or mo

Dahlia Dark Butterfly and Black Knight Butterfly Bush

I haven't posted a new "Artful Combination" in a long time. I've been waiting for our new Dahlia, Dark Butterfly to bloom. I planted it with a Dark Knight butterfly bush. The dahlia has leaned backwards to follow the western sun (this garden faces east). The backward lean has caused the dahlia to bloom through the butterfly bush. I like the effect. Next Spring I will move the dahlia more in line with the butterfly bush so it won't have to lean so far backwards. I also plan to add another Black Knight and Dark Butterfly to add more depth to the look. We purchased both plants online at White Flower Farm. They are my favorite long distance nursery for perennials. I love the deep purpl

Late Summer/Fall 2018 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Indian Summer may not be coming in 2018. We have gone from dry to ultra wet with Hurricane Florence to super hot. It's 89 degrees on Oct. 5th. The Good A Frost aster and wild ageratums are looking lovely with the lipstick sage. The Frost aster is also wild. I might be wrong about this being a Frost aster. I don't see any 'hairs' and the stems are woody. If anyone has any other ideas as to identification, please let me know. I've been watching it all summer hoping that it was this particular aster. Thank you birds and wind! Unfortunately, pollinators aren't interested in the Chinese Aster, but it makes a beautiful filler plant and blooms for a longer period than even the butterfly