Friday, April 24, 2015

Designing a Cottage Garden

Is there anything more picturesque than an English cottage  garden? The flora typically found in these gardens are soft, romantic and bursting with life. These gardens encourage images and thoughts of charm and whimsy, making them a perfect retreat from our hectic everyday lives. The Cottage Garden style is free form, but there are certain consistent elements in every cottage garden. Take a long look at your yard, and then draw a sketch of the perimeters and put your thoughts on paper first. It is a lot easier to use an eraser than re-digging with a shovel. Try to incorporate some soft flowing curves so when you are walking each little turn should bring a surprise. Plan your Cottage Garden to meander with curves. A curving walkway delivers more photographic interest than a straight path and accentuates the garden around it. Construct curves around points of interest like a scented tree or bush, Boulder, and a lush floral container planter.

A Garden Cottage is whimsical and naturalistic, and it speaks to you, “Come, stroll, stay awhile”.

A good cottage garden design will incorporate many elements, including a butterfly garden, a small water feature, curved  paths, quiet sitting areas, seasonal plants and a herb garden. Cottage Garden’s tend to clutter plants and they have a burst of color from traditional cottage garden plants, hollyhocks, foxglove, four o’clock, delphiniums, daisies, coneflowers, Echinaceas and last but certainly not least is the lovely roses.

The first steps in planning your  cottage gardens is to make a list of the elements and ideas  you want in your cottage garden then draw your cottage garden on paper (it is easier to erase than transplant)

 Make a list of trees, plants and seasonal plants to buy. Plant the trees first as they take longer to mature and will give immediate interest and form to your Cottage Garden. 


If you have the room and can afford it, include a small Garden shed in your Cottage Garden. This one element will give you more joy and satisfaction than all the other elements put together. I do not have a large yard, as most yards in planned communities are rather small, but I found a spot in the corner for an 8x10 Garden shed that I call my “she shed”.


Plant rhizomes, bulbs and perennials next as they will take a year to grow and become lush and bloom.


Hanging baskets are always a nice touch as they bring your eyes up and they overflow and give color to the garden walkway. I order the fuchsias in the baskets from The Earthworks Fuchsia Nursery in Northern California. The catalog list hundreds and hundreds of varieties.

Plant a pot with a Specimen Plant maybe a tree rose.

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   Add lots of containers, this will fill in the voids as you    wait for the Cottage garden to mature and also allows you  plant interesting hard to grow perennials or annuals that  may have to be nurtured to obtain peak performance.  Citrus trees such as my lemon tree on the left,  and a pot of  squash adds distinct blooms and bears fruit for the table.    The Martha Washington geranium I ordered from  Geraniaceae Nursery in California.  They offer a tremendous catalog of different types and  varieties of geraniums, not you typical big box store plants.

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The reflective garden is an essential element, as it gives you a place to sit and  meditate or reflect on your inner most thoughts, a quiet place with only a trickle of water from the small water feature.  This area is often an a hidden private spot just for you. 


A spot where you have a good view of the rest of your garden

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A place to sit and a place to dine outdoors.

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Last but not least in importance, is making your cottage garden interesting to look at. Have many different plants, textures, heights, shapes, yard art, color combinations, scents, varieties and features, make your garden a pleasure not only for you to sit or stroll through but also for your guest to be delighted in visiting.

All pictures in the article are taken by Judy Kopittke (the author). This is my personal Cottage garden. If you copy any of the pictures please give credit or ask for permission.Thanks

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My ‘She Shed’

“She Sheds”: Women’s Answer To The Man Cave

It’s been said that sheds are the answer to men’s ailments. But why should men have all the sheds? Every woman deserves a shed of her own — somewhere to retreat for some solitude, to create or grow, to write or paint, or just to enjoy the view. “She Shed is where the heart is.”


She Shed FAQs

What exactly is a she shed?

It’s an alliterative way of referring to a woman’s backyard retreat. It can be a potting shed, an art studio, a treehouse, a converted playhouse, a cottage, a greenhouse, a camper, a converted chicken coop — basically any sort of detached outbuilding.

What happens in a she shed?
That stays in the she shed. I’m kidding. Its primary purpose is to serve as an escape from the noise, the projects and the other distractions in the house. Potting plants, throwing pots, reading, napping, blogging, knitting, woodworking, writing, catching up on some old-fashioned letter writing — whatever artistic pursuits or hobbies a woman has, she can complete them in her she shed in peace.


Does a woman have to build and outfit her she shed without any male help?
No. While many women are doing it for themselves, some have had help from their brothers, male friends, contractors and husbands. However, the she shed is always built according to the woman’s vision.


Does a she shed have to be wired and plumbed? No. Sunlight, candlelight and perhaps a garden hose provide all of the technology the basic she shed needs. Anything more elaborate than that is a luxury.


Are men and children allowed in the she shed?
Of course. While these getaways are built to the woman’s vision, some of the builders have done such a thorough job of creating a dream space that now guests actually pay to stay in them!

she-sheds-08 Thumbs don’t become green by themselves. They need the right environment!



This is my yoga studio… and by yoga studio I mean this is where I drink wine in my yoga pants.


Posted by GuthCo in Lifestyle Solutions

Originally Posted on The Lighter Side