The Happy Cottage

Small Garden Inspiration

This blog was started in Jan. 2017 on a cold bright winter day in my 1945 cottage home.  Photos of the Spring 2016 garden inspired me. Winter is after all, the perfect time for gardeners to daydream of Spring.

Join me for small garden inspiration interspersed with lifestyle.   Please share some of your ideas too!


Many older posts include slideshows, so give the first photo a click to start the show. Categories have been added below Archives to allow easier viewing of past posts: Artful Combinations and Pollinators may give you some good ideas for your garden.  Checkout the Butterfly and Moth Compendium for a catalog of sightings.

My gardening/lifestyle ethos: support Mother Earth and yourself by being as natural as possible.

Don't use 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 butterflies, pollinators and birds 

and shelter for small creatures.  A multi-dimensional garden will bring you years of enjoyment!



January 29, 2017

I stumbled on this photo of two goldfinches eating seed from the yellow pincushion flowers.  The official name is scabiosa columbaria var.ochroleucra.  They are perennials, but bloom all summer long and into early fall.  These are great plants for sunny areas.  Mine to...

January 27, 2017

In recent years my mother, sister and I have an afternoon tea at my house.  It's a nice little respite in winter.  We sit in the "garden" room enjoying our treats and watching the birds.  The husband hides from this affair, but always partakes of the goodies later.  Th...

January 23, 2017

Once again I'm looking at clutter associated with the holidays.

I love receiving Christmas cards , but what to do after the season?

Reading Dear Heloise provided the answer.  Give them to St. Jude's

Ranch for Children.  

I've copied the following from St Jude's web si...

January 21, 2017

I don't know about you, but I'm not a color purist when it comes to hydrangeas.  They are at their best when I have multiple color variations on one blossom.  This also counts as another "Artful Combination" photo.  The small vine with pink flowers is a sweet pea.  Cre...

January 19, 2017

I'm always a sucker for a mythical plant name.  This hybrid is part of the Gold Collection from the Heuger Nursery in Germany.  Lucky me, I found it at a local nursery,  Durham Garden Center .  I planted this in late fall 2015.  It bloomed thru early Feb.   T...

January 17, 2017

Add winter beauty to your garden and honey scent in early to mid-March with the Paper bush.  The exposed branches are cinnamon colored. They appreciate some protection from the afternoon sun.  Mine receives sun, but doesn't get the brunt of western sun exposure due to...

January 16, 2017

I'm a frequent shopper at Whole Foods Grocery.  This weekend I stumbled upon a cheese that I had to try.  This is a Gouda from the Netherlands with warming spices: pepper, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, and cardamom.   Why not try this in corn pudding?   I deci...

January 13, 2017

The first full moon of 2017.