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!





Beautiful Summer Solstice 2019

The day is beautifully bright and windy. More thunderstorms are coming tomorrow. This will be a quick post, but I wanted to send Solstice greetings. By the way, check out yesterday's Variegated Fritillary post. Salmon Queen Zinnia The mighty Willow Oaks. They were planted in many front yards 70 or 80 years ago. Tiger swallow tail feeding on the wild bergamot. He's hanging on for dear life. The wind is bouncing the butterflies around today. I was fortunate to get this shot. There were many missed opportunities with all of the air movement. This lemon yellow daylily is one of my favorites. Laura Phoenix led our yoga class on the patio at American Dance Festival today under the oak tree

Variegated Fritillary Chrysalis Becomes a Butterfly

Here's a short catalog of the Variegated Fritillary coming to life starting with the caterpillar on the Passion vine. This photo is really from last Fall, but I didn't take a picture of our "current" caterpillar this Spring. One day our caterpillar was gone. You hope that he/she left to form a chrysalis instead of having an unfortunate demise. This June we saw our first chrysalis. The photo above was taken June 9th. On June 16th, we saw a small butterfly on the step below the chrysalis. It wasn't moving and had it's wings folded. I looked closer and saw that the antennae were laying flat in front of the butterfly. A few minutes later one antennae was raised. Fifteen minutes later the o

Early June- Small Life in the Garden

Our abnormally dry weather conditions have abated! This has been a season of weather extremes. El Nino kept us unusually wet and then abruptly the rains stopped combined with near record high temperatures for late May. June 11th was idyllic here in Durham. A "cold" front brought dry cool air and beautiful sunshine. As we approach midsummer blossoms and small creatures are gracing the garden. Gardens in and of themselves are beautiful, but attracting wildlife and pollinators make them magical. Water lily June 1st. This year we have so many Green frogs that we practically have a chorus of croaks. Floating Green frog on June 1st Female Ruby-throated hummingbird, June 3rd. At the moment

Late August (actually May)

May started beautifully, but ended up feeling like August with near record breaking temperatures and almost no rain. I have hope for June as we had rain and normal temperatures on May 31st. These photos range from May 5th thru May 12th. Confederate Jasmine. This fragrant evergreen vine likes shade. I was introduced to this vine by my neighbor, Cheryl, when my nose led me to it. Our vine faces North and is growing on the backside of our house. It even grows in deep shade. Ian started some in the backyard under pine trees to cover up an old chicken wire fence. Lavender Lavinka columbine. Julie, thank you again for this wonderful plant! I have harvested some of the seed this Spring to s