Cottage Garden

A friend once referred to my house as a cottage. I made some sort of noncommittal response, and whatever my remark was, she took it to mean I was insulted. I wasn’t at all insulted. I’d just never put a name to the architectural style of the house. Besides, in my mind (not necessarily in other people’s minds), an American cottage is a summer home, generally near a beach or lake or other vacation spot (though in the mountains, a cottage would be called a cabin) and an English cottage is sort of a fairytale dwelling with a thatched roof and surrounded by a lush informal garden.

If my house were out in the countryside somewhere, it might be a considered cottage, but a house in town generally isn’t a cottage. Still, my house is cozy enough to be a cottage, though it is a tad large (a cottage is typically 600 to 1000 square feet unless one is exceedingly rich in which case those numbers are increased ten-fold).

Come to think of it, maybe she thought I was insulted because of the relationship between the words “cottage” and “hut” — cottage derives from Old English (cote), Old French (kot) and Old Norse (kotten) words meaning “hut,” and compared to a hut, my house is a mansion. To me, anyway.

What made me think of this three-year-old exchange is that my yard is starting to look like a cottage garden. Or rather it’s starting to look like my impression of what a cottage garden is. Which makes me wonder if my house is turning into a cottage after all.

Not that it matters. I tend not to put names on things since a name limits that which is named. For example, Jeff and I never defined our relationship. We were what we were. It was only after he was gone and I started writing about my grief that I had to find a name for what we were to each other. Nor do I give human names to things. People often ask me what the name of my car is. Sheesh. It’s a car. It doesn’t have a name. Nor, despite people referring to the bug as “she,” does the car have a sex. Need I iterate? It’s a car!

So, my car is a car.

My house is a house.

And my yard is a yard. But oh, such a pretty yard!


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

2 Responses to “Cottage Garden”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Your yard is indeed pretty! I love the soft, meandering lines, the lush grass and your choice of flowers. I don’t know about ‘cottage’ but it all says ‘homey’ to me. I live rurally but in a cul-de-sac of a few city-style homes on small acreages. We’re surrounded by evergreen trees and the woods tend to drift right into our yards, no matter how much we try to keep them at bay. The garden beds have mostly perennials and shrubs and look after themselves except for a bit of post-winter cleanup. I’ve become pretty philosophical about the encroaching wild salal, moss and ferns. LOL. It isn’t ‘cottagey’, but I guess it’s definitely ‘country’ and I’m okay with that.

Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: