Bare Dirt to Cottage Garden (in Pictures)

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Hiya folks. I've posted a few of these pics in other places, but I've decided to start this here so that I can have one place to post ongoing pics of my wanna-be cottage garden! We bought this house in October and do not have much money to spend on the garden, but I'm making my way as I can.

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Here's my progress so far.

Pic 1 - Purchase in October.
Pic 2 - June-ish
Pic 3 - July (today)

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

More before pics.

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Here are some of my most recent favs!

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Having trouble with image upload, I'll try again more later. =)

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Love this Creeping Jenny pouring out of the pot. Growing between the pavers is Corsican Mint - such a neat smell when you step on it. It's starting to fill in!

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Still a lot of dirt showing, but the Hollyhocks help!

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

I love these clumps of fountain grass. The fronds are so soft.

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

I can't believe how much you have gotten done! and the blue of that Morning Glory is stunning. I LOVE zinnas! I have not planted anything from seed here. I generally trade/ plant perinnals and fill in with petunias.

When grasses first became popular I was not drawn to them. I have certainly warmed up to them now! Still haven't planted any though.

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Thanks so much, Psych! I had never planted zinnias before, but I am LOVING them. I think I'll never do without them again. They are such a gleeful riot of color, I can't get over it.

I can't take credit for that grass, it was one of the few landscape elements that was already in place. But I was so thrilled, because I had noticed this exact type and loved it other places. Same with the salvia - I was considering buying some, when it suddenly popped up unannounced!

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

I've had such limited funds for gardening that I couldn't spend much money on plants. I've had to content myself with $30 of seed packets and going around the neighborhoods asking friendly gardeners for anything that is reseeding in their garden. I've never had anyone say no yet!

Here's the big picture of what I'm working with. This is from Google so it's a bit before my time - you can see they originally had a bunch of those grasses but only two have survived.

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

I'm liking your Cottage look MUCH better than the original

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Thanks so much. Their look probably fits with the house more...spare, clean, and rigid. But I can't help it...if I live there, it will be a cottage garden, whether the home is a cottage or not! LOL

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

P.S. Isn't that Morning Glory's blue UNREAL? The fade into the throat is like an optical illusion - you could get lost in it! =)

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

I have been living in this house for 12 years, so it has been a long project, every day is a new plan. Notice on first picture, I had a 100 year old oak tree behind my house, it is gone after the ice storm this year, so I am starting new in the back same as the front garden, moving plants that needed shade to the back since it is all sunny. Etelka

Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

WOW Kiseta, you have had a MAJOR undertaking with losing that tree. It changed EVERYTHING for you. I certainly hope we don't lose OUR maple tree!

Wifey, YES, that Morning Glory is spectacular!!! Maybe next year...

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Gosh Etelka, what job and a whole new world without that tree! I'm impressed that you've found spots in the shade for everything - was it hard fitting all your shade lovers in?

The fourth picture is gorgeous - that's your front garden?

Your stump seems like prime Clematis material. =)

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

That is what I am planing to do. I will do some raised bed in front of stump and behind the flowers, so I can run some clematis. I can't dig there so I am doing some compost and will use that for raised bed. That is my front yard on the fourth picture, the grass is green and lush for the first time. The front was nothing but weed and the bushess where high front of window. I had the picket fence put in to keep the stray dogs away. Then I dug up the grass in front of the yard which is city property. so now I am in flowers all the way. In front of my house is a large Jap. Maple, I use that for my 20+ hostas, but will transfer them next Spring in the back where I still have one tree and enough shade. It is never a dull moment, also it is hard because my helper is not well, so all the work was up to me. I even learned how to ley sod, which I don't recoment to do in the Summer. Etelka

Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Kiseta, it is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I love to see everybody's Cottage gardens. I am so NOT a formal garden person so seeing other people's wonderful colorful collection is always so inspiring.

Did you also repaint? Or is that an optical illusion. In the 2nd picture it looks more gray/blue than #1.

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Wifey, don't you think that having the limited budget forced you OUT of your comfort zone a little more, forced you to go knock on doors and meet neighbors? AND added to your overall sense of achievement?

YEARS ago I taught a one night mini class on how to change your home's overall exterior "attitude", whether formal, Country etc by changing the landscaping and walkways, choice of color and plants. I wish I still had all my visuals for that class!!

My husband is disabled so anything I've done over the last 8 years has been without help or a VERY limited amount of hourly help.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Hi Pat, I have vinil siding, so it is not painted. Sometime it turns green from the trees. My son came to see me, he said I have to many flowers. I said by whos standards. I think it is never enough, like the drunk that wonts just one more, I always look for something new.

Thumbnail by kiseta
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

You can NEVER have too many flowers... NEVER

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Psych, you've gotta find the materials from your class! I want to take it! =)

Kiseta, too many flowers?? In what strange universe?! Can you have too much glorious splendor? =)

Psych, you are so right, this money obstacle has brought out my creativity. My last house, I spent $1000 buying plants and materials and never talked to a single person about it. This time, the whole neighborhood is engaging with me in the process! I've totally gotten to know gardening neighbors as a result. My kids know "Miss Evelyn's Garden" and "Miss Virginia's Garden" in our town and tons of others because we drive by their houses to check on their progress, and if they are out in them we stop to chat. Inevitably, they send me home with stuff! (I love gardeners!) Ladies from my church ladies' tea bring me plants and garden artwork (the bird in the birdfeeder was a present from them), and other Facebook friends stop by to trade stuff. I've learned that I have gardening in common with friends and it gives us a new connection. And I do have fun telling people it all cost $30! =)

All of this has also had the unexpected result of giving sentimental value to most of the plants in my garden - I look around and I see the Hollyhocks from my mother-in-law, the wheelbarrow from my father-in-law, the Johnny Jumpups from my neighbor down the street, and that gorgeous Morning Glory, which appeared unexpectedly from among a donated clump of flowers from Virginia's garden. =)


This message was edited Aug 3, 2014 7:42 AM

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

YEAH!!! That's what I'm talking about!!! All the wonderful sentimental ties to the plants and the generous people who made it possible. YOU who took the risk and made the connections and work to keep those bonds close by stopping and chatting. You got flowers and FRIENDS!

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Kiseta I'd love to know the names of all the flowers you have pictured in August 3, the #3 picture next to the road.

Today I got all the Round up sprayed in my front yard to eliminate ALL the grass. I'm going to have a flower island in the middle of the semi-circle drive. Salvia, some kind of daisy, what are the 2 pink flowers?

#1 is close up of the front left edge of the house, you can see the white ladder type trellis in both of the pictures to orientate yourself. The #3 picture is at the far right of the house, the pergola type patio covered in Wisteria.

Thumbnail by psychw2 Thumbnail by psychw2 Thumbnail by psychw2
Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Hi Pat, I have planted some Vinca, lots of them came up from last years seeds. also I have some shasta Daysies, and some coreopsis, which here is a perennial. Also some of the short zinnias too. Sometime I just plant different color flowers knowing that next year I will have a chance to change it again. This little garden is my floating blue garden about 5 x 5 feet, right now it is all burned up, but I cut them down hoping it will bloom again before frost. Etelka

Thumbnail by kiseta
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

What is the lacy pink plant on the far left?

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

That looks like a pink brand of Salvia. Am I right?

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

It is a Salvia, which is a perennial here, got to be trimmed to bloom again. My favorite Salvia is the Black and blue, looks like it likes a little shelter from the all day sun. Etelka

Thumbnail by kiseta
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Look at me, learning my plant names! Woohoo! =)

Tamworth, NH(Zone 5a)

Wow, I'm more of a lurker than a poster on DG, but these before and after pictures are absolutely STUNNING!!!! I just had to let you guys know that your gardens are truly an inspiration for me. It's amazing to see the transformation you have made with a lot of TLC and creativity. I just started with a few small perennials last year and I've done a lot of dividing and propagating this season so I'm hoping to have a somewhat decent looking garden by next season. Happy gardening!

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

My new pictures of the back yard. I planted 1000sq. ft of sod, it is doing grate, now I have to put some chicken wire over the stump so next year I can grow some clematis on them. Always a new project. keeps me from drinking (not)Etelka

Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Analen, thank you so much! You just totally made my day. I am still a novice at this, so I'm so glad if anything I've planted has inspired you in any way!

Here's a pic of the front this morning. =) The zinnias are fading a touch and need a dead-heading, but I have a few more coming up in other places. The Lantana is getting ready to bloom again. I can't wait for that touch of bright orange at the foot of the Morning Glory!

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Your cute little chubby bird in the bird bath is a wonderful accent. that Morning Glory... WOW!

Tamworth, NH(Zone 5a)

Wifey, I don't have any annuals in my very young perennial garden and it still looks pretty bare, but I'm looking at your pictures and even though your garden still a few months younger than mine it looks stunning. You've inspired me to start filling in me beds with some annuals... I just can't believe how quickly and beautifully your zinnias have filled in. I'm going to throw some annual seeds in my flower beds this Fall and see what comes up next Spring.By the way, gorgeous morning glory....gorgeous everything! & I was so into admiring all the flowers I hadn't noticed the cute chubby bird until Psychw2 mentioned it....cute little thing! Awesome!

(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Thanks for the compliments on Chubby Birdie! It was a gift from the ladies who come to my church's monthly Ladies' Tea. I hold it at my house and they've been watching my garden with interest as it grows.

Pic #1 - Here's a closeup of Chubby for your viewing pleasure! =D The dragonfly is one of my other favorite garden art pieces. It was on top of a garden globe my son gave me for Mother's Day, then he promptly broke it for me. ;-) I kept the dragonfly (they know it's my favorite animal) and now it floats around the garden. My kids move it around and I often find it in interesting and surprising places! The other day he was sitting on the birdie's tail. =)

Pic #2 - Here's the Black Eyed Susan Vine - I love how lush it is getting. Also, I wanted to show the Alyssum that I started from one little sprig from a neighbor's garden. It has grown to this size since planting in April/May, which amazes me! No wonder people have it all over!
Also, how do you like my entry way weed? On the left? I'm almost certain that this is a weed, but it's been so pretty and lush looking that I've been letting it grow.
In the background you can see my ferns, which are mad at me for the summer sun. They get a bit too much to be comfortable there. The Four O'Clocks, though, seem to love it!

Pic #3 - The Nasturtium is back. I planted it in a lot of places in this same bed, but it got very mad at me for the standing water and full sun (apparently a Nasturtium no-no in my area). This clump, however, is on a slight rise and gets some shade. You can also see a bit of the Morning Glory that I planted to climb the bird feeder, but instead it's rambling along on the ground, a photo-bombing zinnia, and various weeds. As you can tell, I'm not a great weeder.

Pic #4 - My approximate view from my bench during my coffee/Bible study/enjoy-my-garden time every morning. Still some bare dirt, but it's greening up!

Thanks again, Analen! I love these Zinnias with a passion. They are such a gleeful riot of color. I've noticed that when they are there, it gives the impression of glorious garden splendor, and you don't notice the fact that the rest of it is the work in progress. Come winter, I think I'm going to be in for a shock - almost NONE of this will stick around. But I figure I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. =D

This message was edited Sep 6, 2014 12:09 PM

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Caitlin) Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

The placement of the zinnias is the result of my gardening ignorance. I bought seeds for two types of zinnias, "Lilliput" and regular zinnias. I thought "Lilliput" meant that they grew low to the ground - so I planted them right at the edge of the bed. As it turns out, the Lilliput was a reference to the size of the bloom, not the plant!

It was a fortunate accident, I think. Having the tall plants leaning over the walkway is so scenic! It's so fun to get so close to the beautiful flowers on the walk to the door. =)

Below is the street corner in 2011 (according to Google Maps). Look at the way the Mexican Primrose has filled in!! Next Spring this is going to be a solid wall of light pink, nodding flowers. I'm so excited!

Thumbnail by Wifeygirl Thumbnail by Wifeygirl
(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

It's looking very nice. Thanks for the close up of the bird.

Tamworth, NH(Zone 5a)

Awww the bird is so irresistibly cute!!!! And poor cute, little dragonfly....it looks like it's going to be birdy-supper if it doesn't fly away soon!

Vancouver, Canada

Hey Wifeygirl, thanks for posting so many lovely and colourful photos. Your garden is coming along beautifully. You can really tell when a garden has been given a lot of love and care, especially in a cottage garden.

You’re lucky, the plot you’re working with looks really versatile too!

Thumbnail by GardenSketch

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images
    BACK TO TOP