Cottage Garden How-to: Best plants & a few other tips!

“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” –Helen Keller

My favorite style of gardening is by far the beautiful and free flowing cottage type! Although I do prefer some semblance of organization, I embrace the free flow of the cottage garden… as long as she stays in the lines LOL!

Cottage gardens are calm, relaxing, and functional for any gardener… in my opinion!

Be sure to keep posted for next weeks garden how-to: Shakespeare Garden Design!

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.”

Cottage Flowers

Certain flowers provide balance & fit the scheme of things best.
I love cottage garden flowers with their happy, free spirit. It’s as if they call out to their garden mother or father and lavish love to them through their beautiful blossoms.

Pro Tip: Some cottage type flowers include: Hollyhocks, Delphiniums, Foxglove, Bleeding Heart, Climbing Roses, Peony, Phlox, Lavender, Bee’s Balm, Zinnias, Lilacs, and of course one of my personal favorite, Lupines. 

I used to have a children’s story book called, The Lupine Lady by Barbara Cooney I used to love to read it to my children. It was just a happy book that I would recommend to anyone! 

Just like specific flowers fit best in a cottage garden, so do certain garden elements. For instance a white picket fence is a must have!

Here are few other unique garden junque items I love to use!

  • Stepping stones or slate slabs make a beautiful meandering path in any garden. 
  • Old wooden posts. 
  • Arbors and pergolas.  
  • Cool old mailboxes placed in a flower bed are absolutely adorable. 
  • Old galvanized buckets, wash tubs, and watering cans also make great art pieces in a bed. 
  • Use an old step ladder to be home to cute little terra cotta pots filled with beautiful posies!
  • I have an antique lightning rod in one of my raised beds that always strikes up a conversation with guests!
  • Bird baths.
  • Stone creatures, word signs, or other garden plaques.
  • Glass gazing balls.

The list could go on and on… let me know what you like to include in your gardens in the comments below!

If you would like to see more great ideas on other garden junque you can include in your gardens, check out my blog posts More Garden Junque Ideas: Garden Bikes and Yummy Fresh Chive Topper and more at More Garden Junque: Delightful Doors and Yummy Spinach Pie.

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think,  I love your feedback! 

Added bonus tip: To find recipes like the ones you’ll find in my posts, you can go to my blog at to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

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Happy Day,


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Inspiring Photos of Trellis’, Arbors and Pergolas

I mentioned in the last entry that I would post some extra photos of other pergolas, arbors and trellis’…. so as promised here is more inspiration for all my Dragonfly friends. Please share with all your gardening friends! And if you haven’t been over to Dragonflies Facebook, please take a moment to go visit, LIKE and SHARE with your friends for additional daily inspirations, poems, quotes and lots more photos…

This photo is a page we ripped out of a magazine! For several years I have been trying to imagine what I can do with the front part of our farmhouse. It is two stories of white brick with several windows, but the white brick is what ‘hurts’ me… not that I don’t like the white brick… I just don’t do ‘bare’ space well. Even when I scrapbook, I gotta get beyond the bare spots! So anyway, Taylor found this and it was exactly what I’d been dreaming of unknowingly… inspiration, that’s what this is all about!


I love this look (above phote)… it is a beautiful example of cottage style in your garden as well as living art on a wall as I mentioned in my previous post.


The above photo is a nice example of a freestanding trellis. These are extremely easy to make and are beautiful with sweet pea or morning glories climbing over them.


In my last post I talked about creating an ‘invisible’ effect using green baler twine… the photo above is something along those lines, but with white. Very cute in a garden!


This is a good example of something that would fit into a more formal garden… note the boxwood hedges. Quite lovely!


This wooden arbor is simple yet elegant (Above photo). This next arbor is quite neat!


I have never in all my life seen anything as amazing as this pergola… I think we’ll stop here because I’m starting to covet… LOL!


***These last 3 photos were taken off Gardening Tips And Tricks Facebook page… great site… check em’ out at

Hope you enjoyed this photo show as much as I enjoyed putting it together… lots of inspiration for all of us… keep posted for my next post on Potting Sheds!

Happy Day,

Creating Garden Rooms with Pergolas, Arbors and Trellis’


There is something evocative about walking through a rose covered arbor or dreamily strolling through the length of a blossom covered pergola… the air fresh with the scents of sweet mingling with musk… the gentle chirps of tiny birds safely nestled within the confines of the leaf covered shelter. My arbors and pergola are grand statements, and when friends and strangers alike come into my yard, they are what say, “Welcome to my garden’s, won’t you stay an visit awhile…”

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There are a multitude of structures to choose from in every shape and size to fit in with any garden style you choose. What is the difference between the three and how do you incorporate them correctly to create the illusion of having many seperate garden rooms? All three have one thing in common: they are structures incorporated into gardens to provide a growing place for vining plants. Here are some tips and idea’s to get you started.

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This photo is of the lattice trellis that my Chinese Wister covers early in spring… see next photo as it is covered!

*Trellis’ are typically attached to a wall on a building. The goal in using a trellis is to create a semblance of living art on a wall, giving a feeling of comfortable enclosure. Varieties range between elegant wrought iron works to charming wooden arches to rustic old ladders situated in whatever shape you desire. I recently noticed a trellis on a neighboring home that was constructed of three old wooded rung type ladders. They were attached to the side of the house like this- TT – with a climbing rose growing up it. I fell in love as soon as I saw it and am now looking for either one very long or 3 shorter ladders that I can create this on the back of our garage in the Pottage over the tea bed. We just painted it an aqua blue last summer and I can already imagine a pink, old fashioned climbing rose scaling up it… always dreaming!

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I have several trellis’ in my gardens. Along the side of the front porch we have two 4×8 sections of lattice attached to one pillar and the side of the house that my Chinese Wistera grows on. I currently have an old split rail type fence on the back of the garage (what I am going to replace with the rung ladders) that again have lattice attached to give the plants something to grow on. Along my pergola are trellis’ that the roses and clematis grow up and over the top.
Trellis’ can be created by using anything… here are a few ideas to get you dreaming…
~As mentioned above, old ladders hung in any shape or form you desire.
~An antique metal head or foot board… imagine that in a lovely English Cottage garden.
~Purchased lattice from a lumber store are an easy, inexpensive and attractive trellis.
~Pre-formed trellis’ can be purchased in many lovely designs.
~Create an intricate design using old metal or wooden wagon wheels.
~If you want an invisible trellis, use green baler twine. This can be purchased at most lawn and garden stores. Any type of string will work, but remember you’ll have to replace each year. Don’t use natural fibers like jute because they will break down before the season is over.
~Picket or privacy fences also work as a trellis, whether affixed to a building or an arbor.
Like I always say, the only limitation is your own imagination!


*Arbors can range from two or four post structures and are typically constructed of wood or metal. You want an arbor to create a feeling of entering into someplace very special and magical. They work wonderfully in connecting two seperate garden rooms, similar to a door in a house. Gates added to your arbor provide mystery for the guest as they travel through.

Both of my arbors are four wooden posts with lattice attached on the sides and across the top. There is a wide range of variety for you to choose from here as well. Once again, your garden style will determine what kind of structure you will choose.

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*Pergolas are best described as several attached lengths of arbors. Imagine your pergola as a hallway through your home, possibly with door’s, or in this case, arbors leading in different directions to different rooms. Enshrouded by vines and blossoms, it will give your guests a feeling of warmth and comfort.

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There are a few other things to consider when designing your pergola: The length, determine if it will be straight or curving, the structure material, your ‘floor’, if you’ll have step stones on the floor and what you will use on the sides and across the top for your plants to grow up and over. My pergola is about 40′ long and about six feet wide with 4×4 wooden posts set every eight feet. We put 2×4’s across the top and bottom and then used pre-made wooden trellis’ that I purchased at a lumber yard for the sides. These are attached to the 2×4’s every four feet. I have a hodge podge of wooden ladders across the top.

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The side facing the south is one length but the side to the north has an eight foot opening (above photo), or arbor, that allows you to go off to the right toward the green houses. If you keep going straight you enter into the back yard leading you to the patio. My pergola runs between the Potager and the rose garden. I primarily have Sweet Autumn clematis’, a few early blooming clematis’ and several varieties of climbing roses growing on it. I planted a Chinese wisteria on one of the posts in the back yard (photo below). I will have one more post set to the right of it in the corner of the small herb bed that will then be a privacy wall for the back yard.

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The key to adding these hard scape elements successfully into your gardens where they become free forms is to plant species that will create walls and barriers eluding to garden rooms.

Be sure to watch tomorrow for several photos of more trellis’, arbors and pergolas belonging to others!

Life is good, then you enter a garden,
Happy Day,
Please take a trip over to my blog to see all the beautiful photos that go along with this post…enjoy friends.

The Breakfast Patio, Photographing Your Garden and Rosemary-Cornmeal Foot Exfoliate

The scent can only be described as Heavenly… as you pass by when it’s in full bloom the scene is simply breath taking. A gentle breeze carries it’s perfume wafting pass your face, you close your eyes… your olfactory senses take over…such a pleasant and peaceful experience. Her name is Sweet Autumn Clematis and she is one of my favorite vines. I have a weakness not only for climbing roses but also for this beauty. I’ve planted several though the garden’s and each year I fall in love a little bit more. My oldest vine climbs on the front arbor beside my breakfast patio. She has two David Austin ‘Fairy’ shrub roses planted at her base. Their delicate frames hold the tiny blossoms that grow in clusters covering the greenery in an airy coat of pastel pink. I love to sit at the table taking in the sensory overload that surrounds me while having my quiet time early in the morning… listening to the birds flutter about in the depths of her vines until they relax and realize it’s only me… keeper of the gardens.


The Breakfast Patio has lent me many hours of relaxation and was one of the easier projects that we’ve tackled. We laid the black ground cover and then had five yards of pea gravel brought in for our floor. It is nicely sheltered from wind and passing cars by the front arbor, a picket fence, the house and the Banister Garden. The area affords much relaxation and is a pleasant place to visit with family and friends or to be all alone.

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This shot was taken in 2010. We spent many evenings under a starlit sky roasting marshmellows and telling stories around this firepit.

Photographing your gardens….
I’ve been asked if the photos in my blogs were my own and I can happily say that the majority of them are. I’ve photographed everything from barns and mailboxes to horses, sheep and my favorite subject… yes you guessed it, flora! When I started photographing flowers my eye was always captivated by the intricacies of the petals, the lines and indentations of the foliage… I love my macro lens for intensely close shots. My favorite photo is of a Gerbera Daisy I took several years ago… you can see the pollen on the stamens and every crinkle in the petals… it simply whispers perfection. I’ve tried to encourage all of my readers to take before and after shots of the garden spaces that they are creating. You will be very thankful later when you go back and see the progress that you’ve made. It is also great fun to share with other garden loving friends over a cup of tea… think garden journal!

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Today I thought I would give a few tips on capturing that perfect shot.
*Walk the area you want to capture and look around for the perfect angle. I’ve already knelt or laid down to get it.
*Experiment with different angels, I’ve got some great shots from a second story window looking into the branches of a tree as well as down a tree trunk. Likewise stand directly under a tree almost touching the trunk and shoot upward.
*If taking a shot to get a distance shot, stand on the one side of the road and shoot with the angle aiming on the other side of the road; or stand dead center and watch the road turn into a point… great effect!
*Be sure to look behind the subject you want to capture- make sure there are no distractions in the background or on either side.


*Don’t center the subject- divide your screen into 3 imaginary column’s |_|_|_| . Put your subject in the right or left column. Try it both ways to see what will be added within the scope of the landscape. If you are doing a close up, look to see which looks more balanced. See my Gerbera Daisy photo for an example of this. The nice thing with this is you can use the mirror option in a graphic’s program to change it is you may need to.
*Take multiple photo’s to be sure you have options.
Like I always say… have fun and be creative, that’s how you’ll get the best results!

feet on grass

After a long day on your feet what could feel better than a foot rub… here is a great and super easy home made foot scrub recipe! Enjoy friends!
Rosemary-Cornmeal Foot Exfoliate

1/4 cup rosemary infusion (tea)
2 Tbsp. ground organic rolled oats
1/3 cup organic cornmeal
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 nonmetal bowl

1. Brew a strong tea by pouring 1/4 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of fresh rosemary; cover and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
2. Using a food processor or blender, grind the oats until very fine and powdery.
3. combine cornmeal, powdered oats and the oil in a nonmetal bowl; add rosemary tea, 1 tbsp. at a time, until a smooth paste forms.

Massage each foot with the paste, scrubbing rough areas. Rinse using the remainder of the rosemary tea in the rinse water, if you like) and pat dry.
Finish by applying a moisturizing cream mixed with a few drops of rosemary essential oil.

Happy Day,

Here are more photo’s of the front arbor and the breakfast patio… enjoy friends!

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These shots were taken in 2011.

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This photo was taken 2009 shortly after the clematis was planted.

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