The north side of the cottage is the entry and it is in deep shade most of the day so it was a challenge to find plants that would thrive here while providing color in spring and summer. I used astilbe with their wonderful pink and plum plumes, burgundy coral bells, purple columbine, blue lobelia, green ferns, white sweet woodruff, and pink impatiens for the deepest shade on the NW side of the front entry steps.
On the NE side of the entry steps with more sun, I planted deep rose astrantia, pink impatiens, blue lobelia, white lily of the valley and green hostas plus a spectacular pink climbing rose, named Zephirine Douhin, that sits in a way that it gets good sun on the north side and smells fantastic. I can't wait to see how it performs this summer. The rose seems well rooted and is putting on rosebuds so I'm hopeful! We had a beautiful spring in our cottage garden with all the bulbs I planted last fall.
The south cottage garden is truly a cottage garden with a mixture of lavender, daisy's, black-eyed susans, purple coneflower, purple and pink petunias, white allysium, hot pink geraniums, and many fragrant roses including a couple David Austen roses; Golden Celebration - my only non-pink rose & Ambridge Rose (see above) , a Knockout Rose and a couple roses including another climber, from The Antique Rose Emporium nursery in Texas.
The two roses are Baronne Provost and Marchioness of Londonberry - a spectacular pink climbing rose, picture at right. The company was started when the owners began looking for "old" roses in old cemeteries and deserted homesteads around Texas and from that they brought back many old roses which are disease resistant and lovely - and available again today. If you are a rose lover, check them out here:http://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/
The west side of the cottage is the deck. Surrounding the deck I've planted sedums that were given to me by a dear friend. They have really set in and are looking great. They should grow big enough to cover the lower area of the deck that we covered with trellis to finish off the space. Mark built me a garden box that sits next to the deck under the trees on the west. It is so handy to keep my garden tools and supplies near the garden rather than have to go to the barn.
It is exciting to identify the plants we have inherited. It's important to me so I can be sure to manage them correctly. It is also exciting to make our mark on the landscape here; and to mold the property into our vision. Our country place, both cottage and land, is reflecting the TLC we have been lavishing on it and it's a great feeling.
Our next big project is to paint the barn - geranium RED! It will be the same red as on the door of The Dot House. BTW, hollyhocks are growing at the front of the barn. They are such an old fashioned flower, and one that Mark and I both remember fondly from childhood on farms in South Dakota so we had to have them here. We'll do the big reveal of the barn once it is done.
After that it will be maintenance of the property - pastures, garden, trees and shrubs, flowers, yard and buildings. It looks like it will have taken us about one and a half years to turn this place into the modest little jewel it is from the dilapitated property with great bones that we originally saw. That is something I've always wanted to do - fix up a house and garden. I can check it off the list and just enjoy now.
If you are a gardener, you might want to check out my FAVORITE gardening blog, called A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach. She is fantastic with excellent credentials and has a new gardening book coming out. Check her out at http://awaytogarden.com/