On one side of the terraced bank, I introduced switch grass (Panicum virgatum, USDA Hardiness Zones 5–9) for its see-through stems and fine yellow seed heads, which hang on all winter. I placed rock-garden plants such as creeping phlox (Phlox subulata cvs., Zones 3–8), soapworts (Saponaria spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), and sea pinks (Armeria spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) among the terraced rocks. Pale pink, lavender, and white species petunias (Petunia spp., annual) ramble down the bank and mingle with tall, fragrant flowering tobaccos (Nicotiana spp. and cvs., annual), which carry the same colors on high. In keeping with the spirit of a cottage garden, I also included many common plants. Self-sowing forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9), alyssum (Alyssum spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9), and columbines (Aquilegia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8), along with splashes of brick red bee balm (Monarda didyma cvs., Zones 4–10), fill the gravel paths. I also planted old-fashioned Hall’s honeysuckle vine (Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’, Zones 4–10) for the fragrance it offers through the bedroom window as it climbs the porch.
The pond became a home for waterlilies (Nymphaea spp. and cvs., Zones 3–11) and the spring yellow outline of marsh marigold (Caltha palustris, Zones 3–7) topped by yellow flag irises (Iris pseudacorus, Zones 5–8), whose roots cleanse the water. Toads offer a raucous bedtime chorus, to be matched later in the spring by frogs. Fish spawn and increase, keeping mosquitoes out; dragonflies flash iridescent wings in summer, making the porch overlooking this cottage garden more than just a languid resting place.