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!





Another Record Setting Winter

We've broken a couple of records in Winter 2019/2020, but at least it isn't for a polar vortex. "As of February 12, 2020, Raleigh’s winter average temperature is 48.1° making this winter tied for the warmest winter since temperature recordings began 76 years ago." "The Triangle has never had a snow-free winter since records began back in 1887. So far this winter we have not had any measurable snow in the Triangle. February is usually our second snowiest month of the year with 26% of our snow coming during the shortest month of the year. It has been more than 430 days since we’ve had measurable snow in the Triangle. The last snow was nearly 9 inches that fell December 9 and 10, 2018

Two Favorites for Pollinators

My all time favorite, which is a bit controversial these days, is the butterfly bush. Controversial, because in some areas the plants re-seed readily and become invasive to native plants. My personal experience in Durham indicates that some will find a new home naturally, but I have never seen "wild" butterfly bushes at the park, in my yard or at Beaver Marsh. My favorite big white butterfly bush came as a surprise when my mother gave me compost from her garden. Sometime later, a butterfly bush grew in this spot without being intentionally planted. So it did re-seed, but I still wouldn't consider them invasive here (Triangle area in NC.) Fortunately, there are many varieties on the mark

First Stirrings, Feb. 1st

Feb. 1st began as a gray wet day. Signs of "first stirrings" have already occurred this year. As I discussed previously, it's been a very mild winter. Next week we are predicted to have several days of temperatures in the high 60s. This past week neighbors have spotted unusual animal activity on Elgin St. A deer was running down the road around 11:30 a.m. Last night a coyote was spotted walking down Elgin St. Although we are in the City Limits, we are fortunate to be surrounded by wooded areas and our park, Northgate Park has a large creek running through it, the Ellerbe. Here's confirmation of early Spring on Feb. 2: Pennsylvania Groundhog declares Spring 'a certainty'! Sir Walter