The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Flowers from the garden: August 2009

Posted in Flowers | 10 comments

Flowers from the garden: August 2009

I suddenly realised that it was the last day of August so I had a wander in the garden and found these. I’ve waited two years for this one eachinea flower. It hurt to pluck it but it just had to join this group. It is, after all, a celebration of flowers that you can easily grow in an English cottage garden. Not having bought flowers since January 2007 has forced me to overhaul the herbaceous borders. They are now packed with flowers all summer. By adding plants from wayside stands and garden fetes, the transformation wasn’t expensive. It...

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From Versailles to vegetables

Posted in Vegetables | 9 comments

From Versailles to vegetables

I will never forget the eyes of a garden centre owner swelling like organ stops when he heard me chatting to Seraphina and referring to a part of my garden as the ‘Versailles section’. I had designed a forty foot rose walk, a broad path where two could walk abreast and enjoy the scent of old roses in deep borders either side. A sort of scaled down semi formal vista that you might find in any old European garden. I have no idea why I thought of Versailles. Perhaps it was an old echo of the Moberly-Jourdain incident. This was many years ago...

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Flowers from the garden: August 2008

Posted in Flowers | 5 comments

Flowers from the garden: August 2008

What could be sweeter than a posy of flowers. Picked from your own garden, on a sunny evening when the air is full of swallows and bees. Not just the flowers but the joy of the moment is carried indoors to curl beside me on the kitchen table. Companionable, late into the night. Outside, the garden drifts in darkness and the wind in the trees is the sound of the...

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Interblog day out at Audley End

Posted in Reviews | 8 comments

Interblog day out at Audley End

“Lets have an interblog garden visit.” Magic Cochin from the superb Purple Podded Peas blog suggested a couple of weeks ago. Danny was alarmed. “Does that mean that we’ve got to weed the herbaceous borders?” “No it’s an outing to a great garden. It’s going to be the kitchen garden at Audley End. And we’re going to look at the service wing.” “That sounds wonderful.” And it was. I left D happily tucked away in the Rat Room and spent a few hours soaking up the atmosphere of...

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Monarda and Meercat Intelligentsis have brightened our summer garden

Posted in Flowers | 5 comments

Monarda and Meercat Intelligentsis have brightened our summer garden

Last week I was amazed to discover that we now have the floral answer to Meercats. Nodding in the breeze and gazing across the pond. I’d love to know what this plant is called. Does anybody out there know? Until then it will be Meercat Intelligentsis v. Fascinated, as it appears to be absorbed by the view. Last autumn I decided to replant the border on the south west side of the pond garden, where nothing much thrives. I gave the border a deep make over and discovered enough stones to provide the hardcore for a small castle and mile...

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Flowers from the garden: August

Posted in Flowers | 3 comments

Flowers from the garden: August

This bunch has got us talking. A lot. It’s August and one would expect a vase of summery flowers. But we have chosen a combination that refuses to be photographed and shared with the world. I am pulling my hair out having taken at least twenty shots of the beast and every one is out of focus. The image shown here is just a detail but it gives you a sense of the overall effect. We have a smoke tree in the garden. Danny thinks it’s called a flame tree. Who am I to disabuse him? So that’s how we refer to it now (sometimes...

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Sweet peas and wood pigeon, the most evocative scent and sound of summer

Posted in Cottage tales, Flowers | 0 comments

Sweet peas and wood pigeon, the most evocative scent and sound of summer

There is nothing to compare with picking the first posy of sweet peas. The heady scent from something so delicate. The fragile flowers, at best with buds. We have a special vase for them. I think it might have been home to a scented candle once but it is now perfect for these flowers that fade so fast. When the vase is off duty it sits on the windowsill with the other special things: the Buddha, the basil, my frogs. When I first came to live here a friend from London used to stay regularly at weekends. Her grandfather had been Head Gardener at...

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