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!





Snow Moon and Garden Life

I don't think the Triangle will receive snow this week even if we did have a Super Snow Moon. Feb. 18th brought us gentle temperatures in the low 60s. It even brought out tadpoles and a garden frog. We are expecting cold weather starting late tonight with some rain possibly mixed with sleet. This photo was taken around 6:30 p.m., Feb. 18. The clouds are rolling in as the moon continues her upward ascent. Earlier in the day I hung around the garden pond for awhile watching tadpoles and a frog sunning himself. Small flowers are starting to emerge. Wild Confederate Violet (That's the name for the pale blue ones. Technically, white with purple veining.) Common, but beautiful wild violet which

Encouraging Rose Hips for Winter Interest

I was admiring the few orange colored rose hips that are still on the arbor. They were brighter orange a few weeks ago, but still have color. How should I encourage them for next Fall? The answer is simple. I need to stop deadheading earlier so the rose will have time to develop the rose hips. I never gave this much thought until I noticed they still have color in February. This is a good strategy for more color in the garden while we wait for Spring flowers. More importantly rose hips are full of seed for the birds. I feed the birds and squirrels daily, but natural food from Mother Nature is of course ideal. For a more in depth perspective check out this article from Fine Gardenin

Early Feb. 2019 in the Garden

February the 1st is the start of Celtic Spring, Imbolc. Meteorological Spring begins March 1st for the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Perhaps, best known is the astronomical start of Spring for the Northern Hemisphere, March 20th, 2019. I'll go with February first judging by the buds and shoots emerging in the garden. We have had a mild winter again. The color brown is still prominent, but there are signs of life. Tomorrow, Feb. 7th, we might beat a heat record high of 78 degrees. I have included a photo of bluebirds from Julie in Ft. Wayne, IN. They suffered thru the brutality of the 2019 winter storm, Jaden. Amazingly, her heated bird bath is working in sub-zero temperatures.