The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Forget-me-not. Myosotis

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Forget-me-not. Myosotis

Forget-me-nots really come into their own when they self seed. They just don’t seem to work when they are sown and transplanted. They need to find their own place and more often than not appear beside a perfect companion and astonish me. If you don’t have any, scatter some seed around your garden and they should grow. Within a couple of years they will surprise you. They are part of large Boraginaceae family. This includes Pulminaria, Borage, Helitorope and Comfrey to name just a few. Most of this family share the same attribute...

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Monarda and Meercat Intelligentsis have brightened our summer garden

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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

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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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Flowers from the garden: April

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Flowers from the garden: April

Yesterday it was the birthday of the two Carols in my life. My friend Carol and her namesake, Carol the chicken. As my pal doesn’t have chickens at her new house I thought she might like a box of fresh organic eggs to celebrate her big day, we had three in the larder and another three in the nesting box. This was perfect as two large brown eggs had been laid by Carol. I also found a chicken card in our desk and signed it with the sort of signature that I thought Carol (chicken) would like. A Heavy, ponderous claw. I jumped into Jalopy...

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Flowers from the garden: March into April

Posted in Flowers | 4 comments

Flowers from the garden: March into April

Danny used to say that he didn’t buy me flowers because I would think that he was having an affair. Despite assurances and numerous gentle hints, his trotters were in. So I always bought my own flowers until January 2007. Then I decided to try and not buy any for a whole year. I am noticing and enjoying the flowers in the garden much more as a consequence and picking these for the house. We have been so busy lately that I missed the boat on the March Flowers From The Garden post. I picked daffodils (we have early and late) from the...

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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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