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January 5, 2012 / Linda Hartong


“If you would have a mind at peace, a heart that cannot harden, go find a door that opens wide upon a lovely garden.” 

I want to share one of my favorite Carmel Cottage gardens with you. No matter the season, the time of day or the weather, I can not walk by #5 Casanova without stopping to photograph its perfection.

 The cottage is charming but I can not imagine it without its front garden . The cottage is ,in fact, the focal point of the garden.  

In April , the Clematis “montana” already drapes itself artfully over the corner of the house. 

I point my camera over the fence . The narrow winding path is in perfect proportion to the size of this cottage and garden.

 I love the potted pansies by the door and the white wisteria. Globe flower blooms in the window box.

Fuchsia drips from an umbrella-shaped trellis

And the frog atop the trellis seems to soak up the warm spring sunshine.

Spires of Delphinium stand at attention. 

The pink, peony like flowers of ‘Pink Picotee’ Ranunculus make an eye-catching addition. In Kansas, I can only grow this as a house plant.

This is a wonderful example of a modern-day cottage garden- informal and densely planted with a wide variety of plants .

 Creamy viburnum  flowers over the fence.

By late May, the viburnum flowers are fading. Pastel snap dragons, peruvian Lilly, and petunias are now blooming. 

This garden is in its full glory by late August when Lilly, and Hydrangea add even more variety.

 I walk up the path admiring  the ground cover. What wonderful texture.  

Roses add their scent


and daisy shaped flowers tumble over the walk. 

I ring the door bell,

place my card in the door and step aside to admire the scene.

A small rabbit huddles by the door step. White bacopa spills from a planter and

 the frog looks up prayerfully.

Geranium now fill the window box.

 The gardener has used repetition of plants throughout the design to help create visual lines.  I see three varieties of  Alstroemeria or peruvian Lilly.

This garden convinces me that I am really missing out by not growing Hydrangea in my garden. They repeat themselves in many colors to add bulk to the garden. Pink, 


 blue and lavender. 

Even as the blossoms fade they are lovely.

I go out the garden gate. The Frog in charge of guarding the cottage seems to be taking his duties lightly.

I am sure this is not the last time I will stop to admire this scene.


Leave a Comment
  1. Gretta Faun / Jan 7 2012 7:21 pm

    This post brought up memories of my childhood. My grandma was an avid gardener. I wonder if my fascination with Carmel just a nostalgia or it is a unexplored part of me wishing to come out. I only have few potted plants that I water regularly, but I love looking at the beauty created by others. This whole blog is the beautiful masterpiece.

  2. tammy j / Jan 8 2012 5:25 pm

    i love the quote at the beginning. and that umbrella trellis with the fushia and the dear little frog on top… well, be still my heart!
    do you ever tire of hearing my thank you for sharing your beloved carmel by the sea with the rest of us? i am landlocked on the hot, dry, windy prairie. your blog reminds me that there are indeed little bits of paradise. every spring i get so excited and put out plants. every late spring they all but blow away, then those that survive the wind try to live in temps of over 100 for weeks on end….
    alas… my pioneer spirit grows thin! i admire that spirit, but i prefer the sea… and gardens by the sea.
    i’ll visit often, through your blog. the fellow commenter said it best…
    “this whole blog is the beautiful masterpiece!”
    tammy j

  3. Inspired and pretty / Jan 8 2012 7:06 pm

    This is a very beautiful house. It reminded me of houses we see on the paintings of Thomas Kinkade. The garden is lovely, so much variety of flowers. I love hydrangea too, I only have one but I will plant a blue one next spring.

  4. Sonia / Jan 8 2012 7:42 pm

    We will passing through Carmel in three weeks….can’t wait to be back in a fairytale..even if only for an afternoon! Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photographs!

  5. Svea / Nov 21 2012 8:24 am

    You take such wonderful photos! Such inspiration and joy to be found in your blog. I love it! Thank you!

  6. nina zeleny / May 1 2014 10:46 pm

    This is just so lovely and inspiring. Thanks for sharing and keep on photographing it,

  7. Elaine / May 19 2017 6:53 pm

    Love it, Love it, Love it, Love it, Love it, Love it, Love it, Love it, …..

  8. Nina / Jun 27 2017 2:10 am

    This cottage is my idea of where I would like to live in heaven!

    • Ana Maria / Nov 14 2017 1:04 am

      What a beautiful comment! I’d like to be your neighbor there!

  9. Jody (*J*) / Nov 19 2017 4:12 pm

    Setting here looking outside to our newly arrived snow, I filled my eyes with your photos of beautiful flowers and shrubs. I so wish we had visited Carmel By the Sea when we toured California years ago. I appreciate your lovely photos, thank you. Cold in Mid Michigan but warm in my heart and dreaming of my Spring garden. (*J*) Jody


  1. The Cottage Garden at 5 Casanova Street | Once upon a time..Tales from Carmel by the Sea

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