As I closed down the farm and began moving possessions and equipment off the property, it became apparent that I had a problem. David’s garage (it has always been called that because the garage at the farm was mine, so the one at the house was his) was soon overflowing with “my stuff” and I had not even begun to clear out my garage! There was no room for wheelbarrows, watering cans, my rolling stool, garden tools, hand tools, washtubs, or extra garden hoses. A few boxes and birdhouses brought over from my barn, and it was crammed.
David suggested (in attempt to reclaim his garage) that I pile everything in the pole barn, but it has a dirt floor and no ambiance. It often harbors opossums, raccoons, and other creatures. I love nature and critters, but I don’t want them sharing my garden tools. About that time, I read that the newest hot trend is no longer the “man cave” but the “she shed.” I prefer the term “Lady Cottage.” I began thinking…..
A small garden shed would solve a lot of problems. It would provide space to house all sorts of the above-mentioned items. I could put my beloved pie safe (it’s been in my family for five generations) inside to hold seeds, pots, hand tools, the electric tea kettle, tea canisters, and an assortment of cups, plant labels, twine, etc. Of course, I’d need a rocking chair (I’ve written all four of my herbal fiction books in a rocking chair!) and a small drop-leaf table and two chairs, in case I have a guest for tea. The screens and racks I use to dry herbs and the crocks for making potpourris would have a home. It would provide some much needed shade as well. During the winter months, it could store the folding Adirondack chairs and stools, and garden statuary that need protection from the elements. Yes, I definitely needed a Lady Cottage and I recalled the perfect one.
“Country Gardens” magazine often features a garden shed on its cover. I usually bought an issue, read it and enjoyed it for a while, then put it for sale in my Barn Shop. However, one issue (Early Spring 2012, Vol. 21, No. 1) stayed on my desk. At one time, I’d considered “spiffing up” my garage at the farm, and the garden shed on that cover inspired me, but I just never found the time. Now, it would inspire my Lady Cottage.
My cottage is not going to be exactly like the cover picture, because I don’t want cedar shakes. Instead, it will echo the diagonal siding that already exists on our “gazebo.” You can see the diagonal pattern below the window. The building actually went up very quickly. It was exciting when the roof went on.
You can surmise the size from the carpenters shown. I have no idea what size the magazine cover shed is, but mine is 10’ x 12’.
There is room enough for a small loft on the north (right) end for storage, and the ceiling is high enough that I will be able to hang bunches of herbs for drying.
It has the metal roof, because I love the sound of rain on a metal roof, and the metal roofing is green. I wanted a bigger “porch” than the one shown on the cover, because it will be the only shade available in the entire potager. Just below the window on the left I’ll put a potting bench, because it does get some shade in the mornings.
I’ve loved Dutch doors since I had one in Texas. And I think the cottage will have the “basket green” trim, although I’m still contemplating. I call it “basket green,” because years ago I purchased a line of baskets for the shop that were a delicious shade of green. I wanted to paint some display pieces to use with them, so I took one basket to the local paint shop (sadly, now closed) and had them match the color. On the top of the can, they wrote “Basket Green.” We’ve used that color for years…it’s the color of the shutters on the Barn, the color of my bathroom walls because it matches an herb rug there, a color I love. I think it’s the same color as the magazine cover.
Fortunately, years ago my friend LouRae made four beautiful low benches for the front outdoor display area of the barn, which were painted….(ta dah!) “basket green!” They’ve faded a bit, but they are fine for now. I’ve moved them over from the farm and I’ll use 2 of them in the greenhouse, and two along the outside. It will be perfect.
The heavily shaded area on the north side of the Lady Cottage will provide a lovely setting for my beloved primroses. I see it all in my head. I can’t wait to make it real!