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Spring garden planning & new series

It is that time of year... to think about gardening.
Well, okay. Not gardening yet... 
but Garden Dreams and what you want your garden to be in a few months.

And this year, we are doing a big overhaul of the house and garden areas.
From plants that have become too large & unruly 
to new flower beds to something that might have something to do with

 goats, sheep or mini-horses.

Fun fact:

Did you know we lived in an old farmhouse in Minnesota for several years? 
It was on 120 acres of field and forest- it was absolutely peaceful and beautiful and looking out the windows on the porch and watching the grasses blow in the wind or the sunset over the fields while the 'lightning bugs' blinked away?
 It was magical.  And I loved it.
(side note: had never seen a lighting bug until Minnesota- they are pretty amazing) 

It was freeeezing in the winter- (that is an understatement) and hot in the summer. 
And the house was from 1920- which meant no forced heat or air. 
Oh yeah. That was fun.  
I remember when I was about 9 months pregnant with my second son and it was miserably hot and humid with weeks of storms that kept rolling through and then the sun to heat up the wet air 
and then storms with hot wind and no power because of the storms and oy.vey.
 My husband drove me to mall where I did nothing but sit on my big booty for hours in the air conditioning.
And then there was that one winter when it got down to 60 degrees below 0- straight temperature.
It was a record cold.
Water froze before it hit the ground and you couldn't go outside without something covering your mouth and nose to be able to breathe or you could damage your lungs.
Have I ever told you that I am cold when it is like 70 degrees? Yep.
I believe that was another reason we decided it was time to move back to 
 California weather asap haha.

But you know- the most amazing, kind and generous people and friends we have met? 
The folks who live in Minnesota. Seriously. 
And the property?
 I do miss it. We had a horse, chickens, turkeys, etc.  
and a huge garden and lots and lots of flowers. 
 The growing season is short but so sweet in Minnesota- 
and gosh those plants love that warm humidity. 
It is beautiful.
When we moved back to California, I brought a few Minnesota favorites with me. 
 Though truth be told, there was no rhyme or reason- 
I just tossed them into the bare areas and let them flourish.

This year, we are a bit more focused on garden design. 
And that involves moving a lot of things out - and bringing other things in. 
In the past few years we haven't done much gardening at all with the drought- 
and when we did add plants- we added drought resistant plants- like lavender, boxwood and the like. 

And this year- it is all about the cottage garden and the front yard landscape.

 More foxglove, lavender, hollyhock, and white roses- though, at this point- they are mostly there for the deer to enjoy.  And we have allllll those window boxes- which generally, we plant small hydrangeas, scabiosa and even small lavender in depending on the mood. 
This year, I am thinking purple with sage foliage, ivy, etc. again.

I am also planning a cutting garden. And since many of you might be thinking the same- or might want to try a similar garden in your yard- I thought I would start up a new series about outdoor/garden/etc. Where we could chat ideas, or offer tips- kind of like you did yesterday on the lilac post- which was totally helpful.  

Starting with a list of cutting flowers- and getting the garden ready in the coming weeks. 
for some serious garden inspiration- take a peek at Moss Mountain Farm 
from my trip there last spring. 

So what do you think?
I am ready to get this cottage garden party started. 
Would love some to know some of your favorites and also 
what you would like to know with a gardening series. 

Have a great Monday everyone!


  1. We had a gorgeous weekend and spent it working in the yard. Today I can barely move, and my husband is worse. (When we came in, I sat down with a glass of wine and looked at real estate listings for houses with balconies or terraces but no yards!)
    But my goal in the yard is to get rid of some grass and replace it with some plants that will make the bees and butterflies happy. A cutting garden also sounds nice, but it gets so dry here in summer that I will just be happy to have something that doesn't need watering.

  2. Wow, Courtney, your story about the freezing temps in Minnesota... brrr! It's no wonder you moved back to California. :) I'm excited to see what you decide to plant this year. With our weather getting down to 8 degrees, I am surprised my one hydrangea made it! New shoots are coming out of the just uncovered roots.

    You are lucky to be blessed with the best weather for gardening really 365 days a year! And it would be cool if you got a miniature horse. <3 My parents used to use some kind of deer repellant spray on their rose bushes but I don't think it worked well. Maybe you could fence your cutting garden to keep them from munching?? It could have a really cute gate.

    Looking forward to your new garden series,
    Barb :)

  3. Oh yes!! I'm ready!! Gardens are wonderful and talking with others as good as it gets!! What about the chickens??? Are you going to have some?? I think it would be fun!!

  4. Just beautiful...and inspiring! I'm so ready for Spring! I planted (and transplanted) as many plants as I could today as we're expecting much needed rain tomorrow. :-)

  5. Hi Courtney - Oh there's just nothing quite like a good garden makeover. I've done more that a few myself in our little Minnesota fixer upper. I can't wait to see yours. Stop by sometime and say hello!

  6. Courtney..Its been so very hot here in Australia..poor gardens are looking so dry but I do look after near to the house which is an old 1870 cottage.Looking at your pictures its motivating me to get ready for spring blossoms.Love the old cottage to see the old fashioned English cottage gardens...have a lovely week.Brenda

  7. I love larkspur and hollyhock because they come up so easily from seed.

  8. I'd love to chat about gardening. Plants, soil. fencing, pests, watering. It would be great to hear what others' experiences have been and what they love!

  9. II love hostas for the shade!! I used to have over 50 varieties but when we moved I had to leave them although I did dig up 3 of them. Now, I mentioned this to you before and I don't know whether you found the plants but you've got to get purple basil. You can eat it and it looks beautiful in bouquets. They smell heavenly!! And the really neat thing about it, you can take cuttings, put them in water and they root so you can get more plantings. I can't wait to see what you do witht he garden. Have a wonderful day!!

  10. We've recently moved from over the mountain of the Napa Valley to NC and will be starting from scratch in designing and planting our gardens. It was a challenge (to say the least) to garden in CA as not much likes dry, triple digit summer heat. Now I'll have a more temperate climate and have been doing my research. I, too, love the cottage garden look and will be mixing in old favorite flowers with veggies. There are wonderful nursery and mail order sources in your area: Annie's Annuals in Richmond, Cottage Gardens in Petaluma, Digging Dog Nursery in Albion and for really unusual seeds - Floret Flower Farm in WA and I will still be using all of those. I brought with me 2 pots of the 'Dorothy Perkins' rambler rose that originated in my Grandma's OH garden. A piece of it has lived in Ann Arbor, Lafayette, Middletown and now NC. I love your idea for a new series to share ideas and suggestions. Can't wait to get my hands dirty!!

  11. I love cottage gardens, though my mind struggles to deal with plants self-seeding and mingling together, I like to be in a bit more control over my plants than that.
    I am a big fan of hardy geraniums, there are so many different colours, heights, spreads and aspects. There is a hardy geranium for every senario :) xx

  12. Hi Courtney!

    Oh yes please! A new Gardening series would be fantastic! I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and you know that nasty winter you had in Minnesota? Well, that is my life Every. Single. Winter. Sigh.

    Oh well, our little cottage garden is a delight for the short summer we have here in Calgary. I love perennials although many flowers that are perennials where you live are annuals for us!!

    Soooo looking forward to your new series.


  13. P.S. Apparently Japanese mustard greens are beautiful and taste delicious. I can't wait to try growing them this summer.


  14. Oh, I will be following you in this journey! I need to update my garden and I'm kinda lost in that department.