The spring cottage garden is bursting with life, so I invite you to join me for an early morning stroll. The birds are chirping and I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand. Is there any better way to start the day?
Putting Down Roots
I can still remember the feeling of moving into a home that we actually owned. We had moved from rental to rental, and the ability to actually put down roots and make a house our own was thrilling. Of course, I wanted a huge garden. I had been growing tomatoes and herbs in pots and wanted rows and rows of peppers, and onions, and garlic.
We set straight to work putting in picket fence, stone pathways, and garden beds. Over the years we’ve moved beds, ripped out old landscaping, and added more perennials than I can count. We’ve now been here eight years, and the last couple of years have been the first that I’ve really noticed the residual fruits of our labors.
The hostas and hydrangeas are filling in. My yarrow has completely spread to fill the rock bed by the garden gate where I planted it and is now sending shoots out into the pathway…which I find so charming.
The peony I planted that didn’t bloom for two years now gives us the most beautiful and fragrant, if fleeting, show for a couple of weeks in the spring.
It brings me such pleasure to see the gardens mature as plants have started to self-seed and fill in the gaps in a natural and imperfect way that I could never recreate.
While I love the gardens that we’ve created, I still have about a million things I would like to add to them or change about them. Borders of concrete pavers that I would replace with river rocks. More stone pathways (because can you ever actually have enough of those?). I’d love to add about 10 more raised beds. And wouldn’t David Austin roses just add the most beautiful cottage-y charm?!
Some of those things will happen, while some of them are waitlisted for our forever home.
Finding Joy in the In-Between
We’ve now reached the season where we are in limbo between this home that has served us so well, where our babies have learned to walk and talk
back, and the need to have more space and put down permanent roots. This house was always intended to be temporary for us because we knew we wanted to be well off the road with lots of land and space for children (and way more animals) to run. We purchased that property a few years ago, and are in the very beginning stages of planning to build our forever home there.
But that doesn’t just happen overnight. Lord, don’t I know it.
In a culture that tells us to look ahead, reach for more, go bigger, it can be really difficult to find contentment in your current situation. We have most certainly outgrown our current home, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still love it. What I don’t love is when all four people need to get into the closet-sized bathroom at the same time. I’m sure someday I’ll look back on those memories with fondness. Right? But that will probably be easier from my own bathroom that doesn’t have bath toys all over the floor and a perpetually wet counter from toddler play.
So from now on I’m calling our
tiny cozy little home a cottage.
Because I can do that.
It’s mine, and that makes it feel more whimsical and fancy.
So here we are. Creating pockets of beauty and joy in a home that is ours for now. While I truly believe that money spent on making a house a home is never wasted, our financial priority is no longer beautifying where we are. But as we plan ahead, I still find comfort in the magic we have created here.
Today, that joy is found in my spring gardens.
In the strawberry beds that are bursting with fruits that stain fingers and faces (and every shirt my children have).
In the wattle fencing that I daydreamed about for years and finally justified having them when our puppy wouldn’t quit digging up everything we planted.
And the snapdragons that bring so much color and vibrancy.
Oh, and I find joy in a head of lettuce, friends.
A. Head. Of. Lettuce.
This is adulthood.
The Garden is a Small Sanctuary
Not only for my children to pick flowers, and dig worms, and learn about how to put their hands to growing some of the food that we eat, but also for the honeybees that eagerly dip into my flowers. For the birds who find my humble gardens a sufficient home for their eggs to brood, and later for their nestlings to spread their wings and expore the lettuce. It’s a place for my tired Mama soul to have small moments of prayer and peace as I water tender sprouts and pull back the ground ivy that’s creeping into my beds for the thousandth time.
We may think that we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.Jenny Uglow
If you don’t have gardens of your own, then I hope you enjoy this video of a slow morning stroll through mine. I got up before the rest of the household and took my camera along as I watched the dew gather on the leaves and the garden come to life.
Watch The Full Garden Tour with Plant Names
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More Garden Inspiration
If you’re looking for more tips on gardening, and preserving your harvest, then check out the following blog posts.