Come Into My Garden – I Prefer the Natural Look of a Cottage Garden

I have a very distinctive taste in gardening–it is a bit like me. My garden is loud–in a prayerful way. The colors in my garden clamor for attention and as they call, they challenge each other: “Be the best form of yourself.”

Early in the summer, I noted that I was having a particularly pink and purple year.

My garden May 2019

You can bet that there will always be a lot of pink and purple in my garden.

Petunia, Flower, Blossom, Bloom, Pink, Flowers

Persnickety pink petunias
Piled in purple planters
Billowing blossoms bulged
From side to side. – ©Jacki Kellum

Flower, Floral, Golden, Daisy, Black-Eyed-Susan, Yellow

But I have a lot of yellow in my garden, too. Among other things, I have yellow daylilies, yellow cannas, yellow forget-me-knots, and I have the golden and smiley-faced Black-Eyed Susans.

Jacki Kellum Garden in New Jersey

Purple is a complement of and frames the yellows of my garden, allowing the sunny tones to shout. I am like a golden Black-Eyed Susan. In many ways, I am wild and free, and if I had my way, I’d grow along an old, dusty farm road or in a forest clearing. In short, I’d simply grow where I wanted and without any gardener at all. I strive to have a black-eyed Susan kind of garden– one that is , natural, and free.

My New Jersey garden was also a Black-Eyed Susan affair. My problem was that my neighbor fancied herself as an aristocrat. While I preferred the carefree and hodgepodge look of a cottage garden, my neighbor wanted absolute control, and she fastidiously clipped her shrubs until they looked like poodles’ tails. Needless to say, my neighbor hated my garden, a place where daisies polka-dotted the dirt and where foxgloves erratically sprung from the ground. In my garden, hollyhocks hover all around.


I only plant the flat, single, opened, and old-fashioned hollyhocks that are like the ones that my grandmother used to plant.

I plant Indian Spring Hollyhocks, which are an old, single variety in pinks and white.

I love that my garden is simple and colorful and grounded in ruralness. That is also the way that I love myself. But my openness and my relaxed lifestyle are an affront to gardeners and other people who demand control and precision.

In many ways, I have always been the lonely little petunia in the orchid house, and if If I didn’t like being a Black-eyed Susan, I might agree to sacrifice myself to become a pawn in the game of absolute control. But that isn’t going to happen. I prefer to simply hang loose.

My garden May 2019 –  A disease-resistant Gene Boerner Rose

Consider the roses: I do not grow the fussy hybrid tea roses that, like the prima donnas that they are, demand constant attention. I grow old garden roses and disease-resistant roses. I just plant them and let them have their way.

I defy the need for absolute control, and I honor naturalness, honesty, and true-to-yourself growth. Hypocrisy nauseates me. Hypocrisy is a type of game playing, and I hate that kind of games.

July17

My garden gate in New Jersey

But everyone is welcome to my garden, even those who prefer control and precision. Just be aware that my garden is a just a black-eyed Susan place. There are no games in my garden.

“Come into my garden,” said the Black-Eyed Susan to everyone in the world, even to the Hybrid Tea.