My Cottage Garden

Longer shadows, and the continuous hum of cicadas bring back bittersweet memories of back to school and getting my classroom ready for another year. Excited to be starting a new school year, but sad knowing fall would soon be upon us bringing the end of the gardening season. 

Photography enables me to keep the memories of my garden close. In the classroom I learned from my students which influenced my teaching. Now I learn from my photographs which influence design and purpose. In each photo I see the plant’s color, shape, and form. Through my photography I see which plants work well together, what I need to move, and what I need to add.

My cottage garden is a garden for the pollinators. 

Photographs that capture a moment of wonder in my cottage garden: 

Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’
A short form of the tall verbena, it has strong stems holding clusters of lavender flowers summer through fall.


An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly takes delight in drinking nectar from verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’. This is a female, notice the blue along her back hind wing.

My photograph revealed a hole in her back wing. Determined (as all females are) she flitted from flower to flower.


Another pollinator attracted to the verbena, the Common Buckeye butterfly, uses bold multicolored eyespots to frighten predatory birds.



The sweet nectar of verbena ‘Lollipop’ lures a White-Spot Skipper to join the Common Buckeye.

‘Lollipop’ verbena has lavender flowers atop slender see-through stems that sway in the summer breeze.

Can you see the peach roses through the stems of the verbena?

One of my favorite annuals with pale yellow-green flowers is Flowering tobacco. The botanical name is Nicotiana alata. One of the benefits of this annual: It reseeds itself adding more flowers to the garden.

Bee balm also known as Monarda attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

I planted Nicotiana next to the Bee balm and like the softness of the yellow-green flowers with the bold red spikes.

Lavender-blue flowers of Nepeta ‘Walker’s low’ catmint add softness to the orange flowers of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed). The structure of the sword-shaped leaves of Blackberry Lily compliments the grouping.

Purple spiked flowers of Agastache ‘Blue fortune’ (hummingbird mint) and the yellow flowers of Black-eyed Susans pair well together. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors on the color wheel.

Dragonflies are lovely to look at and beneficial in the garden because they consume pesky insects like mosquitoes.


A birdbath, Black-eyed Susans and lime green coneflowers: all part of my cottage garden.






  22 comments for “My Cottage Garden

  1. August 12, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    Delightful post! Amazing ‘sheer’ dragonfly reflecting the lavender flower head. I’ve not seen the Common Buckeye butterfly before with its fascinating patterned colors, but I do see frequent Tiger Swallowtails in my garden — probably Western, not Eastern, although they are quite similar.

    Did you see my post on dragonflies last week? Check out “Dragonfly Summers” at


    • August 14, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Jo, Thank-you for reading my blog and commenting. I do appreciate it. Yes, I did read and enjoy your beautiful post: Dragonfly Summers. Your photographs are amazing!


    • August 14, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Jo, Thank-you for referencing my blog on your blog post. I appreciate it. I do want to start posting more and getting better at commenting on other people’s blogs. I love your garden pictures!


  2. August 12, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    “Beans will sprout. Children will be born. There will be butterflies” ~ a Tudor English expression I just read in a review of THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER by Glorida Glendinning.


  3. Eileen Cunningham
    August 13, 2019 at 12:54 am

    Toby, your garden is so beautiful like a little taste of heaven. My favorite pictures include the butterflies. Wonderful photography. Hope all is well with the family. Love, Eileen


    • August 14, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      Such kind words Eileen, Thank you. I love taking photographs of the garden as much as I love gardening. And I’m always trying to improve in both areas. My family is all well. Hope your beautiful family is enjoying summer. xoxo


  4. Tony King
    August 13, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Beautiful….photo’s are award winning…always look forward to your blog….your prose and gardening knowledge are very uplifting…keep it up….


    • August 14, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      Hello my dear brother. You are too funny; not sure if my photos are award winning, but I appreciate the compliment.
      Thank you for reading my blog posts, it means a lot to me. miss you. xoxo


  5. Renee
    August 13, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Looking at your beautiful garden photos really makes me stop and relish the summer moments
    Love it!!


    • August 14, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      Renee, you must be enjoying summer in your new beautiful home! Enjoy the moments in your garden. 🙂


  6. Bunty
    August 13, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    As always soothing, relaxing photos. I can close my eyes and
    Visualize being in the middle of it
    on a warm, soft breeze day.
    So pretty!
    Hard to believe summer is on the down spiral, oh well fall is just as beautiful will wait for more pictures.
    Thanks for sharing always love it.


    • August 14, 2019 at 3:46 pm

      Thank-you my sweet sister-in-law. I can’t believe we’re already in the middle of August. The older I get the faster life goes by.
      But, you are right, fall is beautiful!
      Miss you. xoxo


  7. shirleysears
    August 13, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    As always, your pictures and writings are beautiful and delightful. Even Jim enjoyed seeing all of the butterflies.
    Love & hugs,


    • August 14, 2019 at 3:48 pm

      Shirley, I’m happy you enjoy my posts. You are my forever cheerleader!
      Tell Jim, thank you for me.
      Miss you. xoxo


  8. August 16, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Beautiful images, what a lovely garden you have


  9. Beth
    August 17, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    Beautiful pictures, beautiful words…..

    Your garden is beautiful….I’d love to enjoy a glass of wine on your bench with you. Miss you!!



  10. Robin Eve
    August 19, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Such a sweet sentiment as the days grow shorter and the leaves turn from green to gold.


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