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Cottage Lake Gardens


December 2016 Newsletter




Greetings from Cottage Lake Gardens!

2016 has been a great year for us here at Cottage Lake Gardens. We took a one-time break from hosting our annual Trillium Tea, Talk and Tours so we could complete some major garden projects.   Here's what we've been up to:



Even more trilliums planted!

In 2016, we added hundreds of more trilliums to the garden as well as many more trillium companion plants.  That means there will be even more to see during our 2017 Trillium Tea, Talk and Tours. 


2016 Trillium Trekking Trip:

This spring Darlene Wing also accompanied me on a two-day trip down to the Bodega Bay, California to find and photograph the rare Trillium ovatum forma maculosum in the wild.  We had the help of a fellow trillium enthusiast friend who was familiar with their locations, otherwise we would still be there wandering through the poison oak and brush trying to find them.

Attended Plant Study Weekend in Salem, Oregon & Visited Incredible Oregon Nurseries along the way

I enjoyed a three-day trip to Salem with my dear friend Darlene Wing to attend the annual Hardy Plant Study Weekend there.  We stayed at the wonderful Oregon Garden Resort and trolled all the local nurseries in the area.  We almost couldn’t fit all the plants we bought in the car ride home!


Cottage Lake Gardens Bed & Breakfast:

This year we completed our third year running our bed and breakfast.  We hosted over 298 guests over the past three years and I can now check that one off the bucket list.  We made the decision to retire from the B&B business in 2017 to make more time for the garden.


Cottage Lake Gardens is now mapped on CAD (Computer-aided Design)

One of the requirements for Cottage Lake Gardens to become a certified National Trillium Collection holder is to have the entire garden and all its flower beds mapped with all the garden beds assigned bed numbers. In turn those assigned bed numbers are used to correspond with the Garden’s Plant Collection Database in the location field for each plant record.   

It took four months with three people working on it (myself, my husband and my brother), but we finally completed the daunting project including not only the garden but also the paths, roads, houses and other structures on the two acres.  I think we spent around 1,500 hours doing this which would have cost a fortune if we had paid someone to do it. 

We worked on it during the winter months which had its pros and cons.  The pros were that all the trees and shrubs were bare of leaves so it was much easier to take angle readings and site measurements.  The con was it is was soooo cold that I had to use hand warmers between the metal witness stick and my hands to keep my hands from freezing to it. 

Now it’s all saved on computer and can be printed out in various sizes, forms, and layers. 



Cottage Lake Gardens Plant Collection Database conversion from Excel to Access almost complete.  

As if the CAD garden mapping project wasn’t hard enough, we next began working on converting my Excel Plant Database (the results of 22 years of plant collecting and their related plant information) into a more robust Access database.  Thanks again to my brother the “Access King,” we have almost finished this project.  The plant database includes 2,221 unique taxa, 4,085 accessions and 1,200 pots of trillium seedlings (some pots with 100 seedlings in them each!)


Another Retaining Wall & Others Renovated. 

One of the slopes leading down to the lake between the main house and our cabin next door had never been really landscaped to my liking, so we built a new block retaining wall across it giving me better access into the planting areas and to help terrace the steep slope.  In addition some of the original block walls we built years ago needed some repair work so had to be rebuild those as well.


Another great Trillium Seed Exchange This Year

This year I completed my fourth year of administering the annual Trillium-L Seed Exchange, an international seed exchange for trillium enthusiasts.  It took three months of seed cleaning, storing and packaging (had some help from some of friends here).  As a result we were able to spread around 167 different trillium species, varieties, forms, cultivars and hybrids seeds all around the world to other trillium lovers.

Garden Talks Continued – Several in Canada

In 2016 I started to cut back on my garden talks due to time constraints and the B&B operations but I still managed to give a dozen talks on various gardening topics.  The highlights were my talk on Trilliums for the Vancouver Hardy Plant Group alongside Dan Hinkley and Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter.  I got to have dinner with Thomas Hobbs and Dan the evening before.  The next day Douglas Justice, the Curator for the UBC Botanical Garden gave Dan, Fergus and me a personal tour of the UBCBG garden. 

More Trillium Watercolors and Gifts Now Available on our Website:

Lastly, as we are quickly approaching the holiday season, we have made available on our website some very nice Trillium gifts for you, your friends and family. Our gifts feature the trillium watercolor paintings of Catherine James.  Every year she creates a new watercolor painting for us featuring a different trillium species. This year she created two watercolor paintings: the first one was of the Trillium rivale and the second one of our birch meadow filled with Trillium grandiflorums.  And we have it for sale on our website along with all our other trillium gifts of notecards, pens, spiral notebooks, mugs and holiday cards.

All purchases go toward helping us fulfill our mission of protecting and preserving all species of trilliums. We do so by increasing public awareness of trilliums through education, providing a public trillium display garden and making trilliums more readily available to the public through propagation and administration of an international trillium seed exchange. We also sell trillium rhizomes through mail order.

Here’s the best to all of you in 2017.  I hope to see you at one of our 2017 Trilliums Tea, Talk & Tours..


Happy Gardening!

From Susie Egan at Cottage Lake Gardens



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