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May 10, 2013 / Linda Hartong


I long for a cottage garden for my little bungalow, Beach Music. 

True, I once designed gardens in Kansas City but here the plant palette is completely different. Most of the gardens I designed were on spacious suburban lots or country gardens on acreage.

So I enlist the help of Kathleen Coss Kathleen Coss Landscape Design.

I have seen her work in a friend’s garden and am impressed.


We start the process by e-mail and photos. 

Kathleen lives near me so she visits the cottage, sends me an extensive questionnaire to fill out and we start.

We come to Carmel for several weeks so I can join in the fun of creating.

Kathleen takes me to the cottage garden she has designed at Primrose Cottage.


It is April and spring is here. I peek over the garden gate. Oh my, this is what I have in mind for my cottage.


Sweet peas climb the picket fence.


Roses climb the arbor.


We open the gate and walk up to the front door to get permission to take pictures.


The little cottage is trimmed in blue


and the plantings, 




And shutters echo the color. 


The owner is having coffee with a friend inside the cozy dining room that overlooks the garden. She gives us permission so back down the path we go.


Kathleen leaves and I take my time roaming around.

Flower boxes overflow with ferns, cyclamen,and fuchsia.


Behind the brilliant, purple blooms of Senecio, this sign bids me welcome.


I admire the bird house.


Beside the bench 


is a small vignette composed of a bird bath


and the Buddha.


California poppies cheer me.



These garden lights will help one find the path at night.


The hose is neatly tucked away in a hose pot.


I round the circular planting bed in the center of the garden. Boxwood lines the path.


Foxglove bloom.


Staked Delphinium will bloom almost all summer in Carmel’s cool climate.


The tuteur is another great focal point


It’s height emphasized by the Calla Lilly planted nearby.






And Myosotis add to the mix.


The small back yard is charming. Why have I not put oilcloth on my table? What an easy way to add color.


Kathleen has designed a raised bed around the space and filled it with shade loving plants.



Time to go. I make my  way down the garden path,


close the gate and give a backward glance to Primrose Cottage garden.


“The cottage garden; most for use designed, Yet not of beauty destitute.”

Charlotte Smith



Leave a Comment
  1. Jo-Ann Fantino Ruffolo / May 10 2013 2:09 pm

    Dear Linda,

    Such a bright and charming garden. We have been following progress at Beach Music…love the fence and look forward to seeing the plantings.

    Looking forward to our breakfast at La Bicyclette this summer.


  2. House Crazy Sarah / May 10 2013 3:45 pm

    Beautiful garden – I love the idea of a “hose pot”!

  3. Linda Floyd / May 10 2013 4:16 pm

    Linda…lovely post and pictures as usual….how fun to follow what you’ve been doing…good choice on the garden inspiration of Primrose Cottage. And, I’m tagging along with you and Jo-Ann Ruffolo for a breakfast at La Bicyclette this summer. Keep us posted on when you’re back….want to see everything you’ve done!
    Linda Floyd
    Biddlestone Cottage

  4. Sue / May 10 2013 6:46 pm

    Such an inspiring delightful garden so full of every kind of wonderful flower and design. How can one pick out any one favorite. Your photography is amazing. Please do a post about it someday. Loving the Delphinium and boxwoods.

  5. Doretha J. Hodo / May 11 2013 12:10 am

    It’s fascinating! Looks like a garden from bedtime stories.

  6. Heather / May 11 2013 3:37 pm

    Nearly every day we walk by your garden creation coming to life. It’s a joyful part of our jaunt and so fun to see it coming together. Love the new fence. Enjoy!

  7. Jacqui / May 11 2013 7:58 pm

    Oh, I so want that garden. How very beautiful. An English country garden in Carmel!!

  8. apainterlyhome / May 12 2013 4:49 pm

    Dear Linda,
    I LOVE your blog. I have only visited Carmel briefly as a “tourist” a couple of times…what a dream to have a cottage there! I am very honored that you have read my blog!
    So nice to meet you, Thank You for your inspiration! Can I write a post about your blog?

  9. Roslyn Worcester / May 15 2013 8:55 pm

    Dear Linda,
    I enjoy your blog and pictures of Carmel so much. I now live in Salem, OR,, but spent much of my youth in Carmel. My grandmother owned a Spanish style vacation home at 3rd & Monte Verde, and my mother and father briefly owned the The Green Lantern Hotel at 7th & Casanova. I hope you’ll someday check out The Green Lantern and maybe photograph this very charming cottage style hotel that was built in the early 1920’s. I think our once very charming living quarters is now the hotel office and breakfast dining room. My husband & I were married at the Church of the Wayfarer, and our reception was held at the Cypress Inn. My heart will always be in Carmel. Roz

  10. Inspired and pretty / May 19 2013 3:13 am

    What a lovely garden, I love everything about it ! I hope you’ll post pictures of your garden when the flowers will have grown ! 🙂

  11. Joyce / May 29 2013 3:29 pm

    Lovely post! You might remember me as the flickr contact who has a southwest cottage style garden. Mine was less planned and more evolved as time has gone by. I love the carefree cottage style. Your blog is delightful!

  12. John Nixon / Sep 18 2016 9:29 pm

    can you tell me about the hose pot? Who makes it? Where I might find one?

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