The weather couldn't be better. It could stay like this all year...as they say. Yesterday was the same, so I did a lot of things outdoors. I must say, my house suffers, when the weather is like this. I just figure...we have so much bad weather in Northern Illinois...you have to take advantage of the good days. Joe loves working outdoors too...so we work well together. We've only been married for almost 6 years, so we've had many many years of working outside before. So, it is surprising how similar we are in our ideas about gardening. He goes about his outdoor work and I do the same. We meet back on the bench, by the woods, and rest...when we are done. Our young neighbors are used to seeing the "old couple" working and sitting. We watch our young neighbors running around like chickens with their heads cut off....doing their work in a rush, so they have the weekend for fun. The first place that I start my day is the little garden by the entrance to the house. I've posted pictures of it in all the seasons. I took the above picture yesterday and thought to myself....when did this become a "cottage garden?" I just put a few things in among the few plants that were already there. Each year it has developed into something new. To me a cottage garden has variety, abundance, and must be informal.Plants are planted very close together to keep weeds down to a minimum. Many plants normally used in the cottage garden reseed themselves & plant the garden for you! Some cottage gardens combine herbs and veggies with the flowers. I only have a couple of herbs...the thread combining everything in my little garden is the plant called Lamium. It was a pass a long plant from my old home. I was telling about my old garden club and how the ladies would give each other sprigs of plants to take to their own gardens. Well, this was the first plant given to me. Martha gave it to me and said..."It will crawl through your garden and fill in bare spots." That's all I needed to hear....as I had bare spots. It was planted in my yard in 1976 and it is growing here in 2009. It's my favorite fast growing perennial to be used as a ground cover!. Lamium prefers a semi-shady dry area with well-drained soil but will tolerate a wide range of soils and moisture. It is best to cut this plant back after the first bloom to promote compact growth. This plant can be invasive they say. Mine is growing now in full sun and it is beautiful. A very forgiving plant...you can rip it out and replant the part that you have in your hand. It will not show, where it was divided. It is in and around everything....but easy to control. When it isn't in bloom...it's still beautiful. So, this wonderful plant has made my garden look like a "cottage garden." The garden is all pastel right now, but waiting in the wings are those bright orange lilies...full of huge buds just waiting to pop. Orange isn't what I would pick for this area, but the lilies will stay...Joe loves them.They were in this garden when I came to live here and here they will stay.