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!



May 31, 2017

Spent Spring flowers left me with two big blocks of green.  There's nothing wrong with green, but I like to break it up some.  A   spontaneous purchase at Home Depot solved my problem.  I fell in love with brightly blooming Red Riding Hood penstemon and a steely blue p...

May 26, 2017

We've had an incredible amount of rain this month which is reassuring as April was dry.  I'm aware of two plants that didn't enjoy it.  My new daphne odorata bush is wilty and some old fashioned sedum have yellowing leaves.  Here are a few plants that have enjoyed the...

May 23, 2017

We have many plantings that were chosen with pollinators in mind. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds bring a garden to life.  I had not considered the gift of hybridized plants. This echinacea came up from seed.  I rate it as one of the showiest that I have. I've waite...

May 18, 2017

I've slowed the pace of perennial plantings in the yard, so it's time to pot annuals.  I'm sure you've heard of the "Thriller, Filler and Spiller" formula.  I've never been very good with filling my pots.  I'm just not excited about them the way I am with my perennials...

May 12, 2017

We had the perfect May day to visit Duke Gardens.  The sky was a beautiful clear blue and temps were only in the 70's.  I hope you enjoy the slide show. This doesn't begin to cover all of the garden offerings. This is such a wonderful place to visit.   I highly recomme...

May 9, 2017

Duke Gardens has two magnificent examples of training a tree over a bench using  magnolia and weeping bald cypress.   I'm fortunate to have a home that came with some mature plantings.  One of these is a weeping cherry tree.  We found an artistic bench at...

May 4, 2017

One of my neighbor's took a photo of this "turkey" in their backyard.

What is going on?  Pheasants and turkeys in Northgate Park?  We are bordered by a creek and walking trails on one side of the  community.  Perhaps, this is why we are seeing them.  I suspect that they...

May 1, 2017

Some of my favorite pinks and blues are thriving on this beautiful day. I took the photos on April 30.  Have a beautiful May Day, wherever you are.  It's a peaceful May Day here in Durham, NC.  It's slightly breezy and overcast as we wait for evening storms....

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