async defer src="//" My Enchanting Cottage Garden: April 2015

About Me

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Gardening is my middle name. I have been an avid gardener for 50 years.  My goal is to help anyone who wants to start a Cottage Garden, be able to do so without the expense and frustration of beginning gardeners. I hope to encourage readers to share their thoughts and experience and help make this blog a knowledgeable and fun read.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Summer Rose Care Tips

pink climbing roses

Summer is the time of year when short shorts rule, blue skies reign and outdoor activities dominate the weekend. Gardeners hale the season in by spending more time in the garden. But when it comes to roses, summer weather can create some stressful conditions for plants, including heat and water stress, foliar diseases and hungry insects.

Try these summer rose care tips to reduce summer stress for roses.

Q: Do the warm days and cool, damp nights pose any problem for roses?

A: But moisture on the leaves and the flowers under those conditions will encourage foliar diseases and flower problems.

None of us can stop the rain, but we can plant our roses where there is good sunlight and air movement. During the summer, avoid water on the foliage as much as possible and always keep the area around your roses free of plant debris. This will reduce the chances of any diseases being splashed onto the foliage.


Q: How often should roses be watered in summer?

A: Because we live in the rainy Pacific Northwest, many gardeners think that their roses don't need a lot of water. However, during the months of June through August, roses are often thirsty for water. Be sure to water your roses at the base during these months. Established roses need 2- to 2.5-inches of water once a week during the summer months.

Keep in mind that soil, temperature and surrounding plants do affect how much water a rose needs. In temperate climates, weekly watering is usually enough; two inches of water a week may be all that is needed. If the soil is sandy or the garden is hot, dry or windy, more frequent watering may be necessary.

Q: What's the best way to tell when roses need to be watered?

A: A great way to check if the roses need water is to scratch around the base of the plant and outside the "dripline" of the rose about 2 inches to 3 inches deep to see if the soil is dry. If it is dry, then water; if it's wet, wait a day or two to water again. The active feeder roots are not going to be near the crown of the rose, but rather out and away from the "dripline" of the rose.

David Austen Rose Youn Lycias

Q: So then, what method do you recommend when watering roses?

A: The best way to water roses is to provide a nice slow soak so that the water goes deep into the soil profile. Roses can have feeder roots as deep as 12 inches and will need water to keep those roots alive and well. Watering deeply in that area all around the plant will help your rose healthy and beautiful. Do not sprinkle the foliage if at all possible. Wet foliage encourages leaf spots and disease problems. Watering from overhead can also damage the flower buds and reduce the beauty of your roses.

Q: It sounds like drip irrigation or soaker hoses are great way to water roses. What about sprinklers?

A: Many gardeners set their automatic sprinklers to water their roses heavily when the plant is young. However, they often forget to adjust their sprinklers when the plant is older and established. This causes wet or soggy feet for the roses. Established roses should be watered when they need water and generally not on a "sprinkler system schedule." This is problematic for the myriad of people who now set the timer and walk away.


Q: Summer weather and insect problems often go hand-in-hand. Any organic methods that you recommend to control pest insects on roses?

A: With many gardeners also growing their vegetables near their roses, we recommend using organic ingredients to tackle common Pacific Northwest insects that attack roses. There are many products on the market along with predatory insects that can be used to get rid of damaging insect pests. The first thing to understand is you have to determine at what threshold you are ready to get rid of the insects. Are you okay with a few aphids here and there or do you require your roses to be completely free of aphids? No matter how you want your roses to be, organically controlling the aphids will require patience and endurance.

Ladybugs are a great way to reduce aphids and there are several other predatory wasps that will also reduce the aphid population. The unfortunate side effect of investing in predatory insects is that they are not necessarily loyal to you as their owner. They may fly away and take care of your neighbor's yard just when you need them the most. A great way to seriously reduce the number of aphids attacking your plants is to use soapy water spray. Create a solution that is one part dish soap to nine parts water to take care of those critters. This solution will not cause damage to you, your animals or your plants.


Q: Should we deadhead spent flowers regularly? And what's the best way to deadhead?

A: Deadheading seems like an awful lot of work, but it is well worth it. Once the blooms have completely opened and the petals are just starting to fall or when you think the flower has pretty much finished being a good flower, it is time to remove them. In order to get another flush of flowers that are as big and wonderful as the first flush it is important to prune them off correctly.

The best rule of thumb is to go down the stem until you find the first leaf with five leaflets. Make your cut just above that leaf and a new shoot will soon appear with a rose bud on it. The more often you deadhead the prettier and tidier your roses will look.

There are some rose types that have self-cleaning flowers and it is not necessary to deadhead these. If you want to enjoy the varied colors, sizes and shapes of rose hips throughout the winter months, do not deadhead the last flush of flowers and they will produce an abundance of rose hips for you to enjoy and will be food for the birds.

Friday, April 24, 2015

How to Design 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

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Landscaping with Roses

When some people think of using roses in their home landscapes, they envision them in a place of prominence, serving as a colorful, focal point or accent. Some folks visualize roses as only being suitable for a formal garden or used as the rose in this pix. Roses ARE the Queens of the Garden! Nevertheless, roses have many functions in the landscape other than being the Queen of the Garden Party! Roses can be some of the most versatile plants in your home landscape. These plants because of the wide variety of growth habits, sizes, colors, and textures can fill any niche in the home landscape. As long as the site is right there is no reason you can’t have roses in all parts of your garden.
Now, let’s look at some of the many ways you can use roses.

Roses can BE. . . .

Accent plants

autumn sunset-001

Some landscape designers use the term accent and specimen interchangeably to describe certain plants that are so dramatic and eye-catching that they are best used alone or in judicious combination with other less spectacular plants, or used to draw your attention to a particular area of the landscape (driveway, residence or garden entrance for example) Plants used for accent should possess one or more distinctive attention-getting characteristics. They should be outstanding in form, texture, size, color, or a combination of such qualities. The above-pictured rose is “Autumn Sunset” A hardy climber I grew in Ohio.



A specimen is a plant that stands out in the landscape due to some spectacular characteristic. Specimen roses should be positioned to be viewed as an individual or where the plant stands out among other plants. Tree roses are a good example of a specimen, due to their unique, unusual form.

Foundation plants

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Foundation plantings consist of a plant community of similar requirements, such as water, soil pH, and exposure. Consist of small to medium evergreen  shrubs, ground covers, and seasonal color plants. Many types of roses are suitable for foundation plantings. Just remember that these are seasonal showy plants, so plan for greenery in the winter. Typically use 80 percent evergreens and 20 percent deciduous or herbaceous plants to comprise the foundation planting.

Walls and fences


Climbers and ramblers are great choices to add interest to otherwise plain walls  and fences. Can you imagine how bland and  uninteresting this fence would be without the rose. The Veilchenblau rambler is a young cutting I started last year, by next year it will cover the wall.



Trellising of roses is an easy and can be economical way (if you build your own) to add structure and attractiveness to your garden. Using ramblers or climbers on trellis can provide shade, privacy, screening, or accent in the landscape. The above picture is of Golden Showers. A quick grower and abundant bloomer.

Monday, April 6, 2015

How to Grow Fabulous Fuchsias'

The world of Fuchsias’ is vast and almost unlimited. There are so many variations and colors it makes my head swim.  The nurseries in Ohio and Alabama, when I live there, were full of opportunities to own a fine bushy specimen, then I moved to Las Vegas, and what NO fuchsias’ anywhere. Not going to happen, the one box nursery we have, I don’t think they have heard of the plant.  Thank goodness for the internet.  There is a plethora of sites to buy fuchsias.  My favorite is The Earthworks in Covington, Wa. The price is so reasonable you can’t help yourself to order in multiples.  Below is my list for this year and I can’t wait for delivery. 

Blush of Dawn33

1.   Grown as garden shrubs and potted plants, fuchsia (fuchsia spp.) is a colorful genus of flowers containing around 100 different species and at least a few thousand cultivars. The most commonly grown types of "tender" hybrid fuchsias tolerate United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 9 and warmer. However, some "hardy" and "half-hardy" fuchsias can survive winters outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and warmer areas. Gardeners hang them in baskets on front porches during warm summer weather. The flowers have a bell shape that many people find attractive.

Baron de Kettler

2.  Choose a variety of fuchsia that suits your needs. Hardy varieties can survive outdoors during winter in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 or warmer as long as the gardener prepares them for freezing temperatures. Half-hardy varieties can also survive freezing winters in Zone 6, but some of their stems will dieback each year. Tender varieties cannot survive freezing winter temperatures. If you plan to grow fuchsias in pots and bring them indoors during winter, you don't have to worry much about hardiness -- just choose the color you prefer. Fuchsias come in a range of pinks, reds, magentas, whites and purples.

3. Test the soil pH before planting fuchsias outside. Fuchsias prefer a pH of around 6. If the pH is too high or too low, mix in peat to lower it or lime to raise it, or use commercial preparations for this purpose. Potting mixes should come with a pH acceptable to fuchsias.


4.  Plant fuchsias in a well-drained potting mix in pots or an outdoor garden. Plant them after the last frost. Fuchsias prefer a deep planting depth that allows the crown to sit 4 to 6 inches beneath the surface of the soil.

Heidi Ann

5. Place potted fuchsias in an area where they receive plenty of bright and mostly indirect sunlight. In areas with summer temperatures above 76 degrees Fahrenheit, place the fuchsias in a shaded area. Their flowers stop growing when they encounter daily temperatures above 76 degrees.
  first love lg

6. Water the plants regularly so that the soil stays consistently damp, but wait until the soil feels dry. Do not water them so much that the soil feels soggy.

                 Machu Pichu

7. Fertilize the fuchsias about once per week with a soluble balanced fertilizer to keep up with their high demand for nutrients. Apply at the rates recommended by the fertilizer manufacturer or use about 1 tablespoon of 20-20-20 fertilizer per gallon of water.


8.  Bring potted fuchsias indoors before the first frost in climates colder than USDA Hardiness Zone 9 Slowly give them less and less fertilizer throughout August, and stop fertilizing altogether in September. Move the fuchsias into the house or put them in a greenhouse or shed. They don't require much light during their dormant season, but they do need enough misting to keep the soil from drying out.

Southgate 2
9.  Protect hardy and half-hardy outdoor garden fuchsias from freezing winter temperatures by covering them with a layer of mulch. Remove the mulch when the plants begin to grow again in the spring.

10. Prune the fuchsias in early spring to encourage flower-producing new growth. Cut the stems down to about 6 inches long or prune them to just inside the rims of their pots.

11. Place potted fuchsias back outside in a well-lit area after the danger of the last frost passes.

Royal Air Force