How My Pacific Northwest Cottage Garden Grew Through the Summer Season

Don’t you love taking a look back at the beginning of the gardening season to see where it all began? My Pacific Northwest cottage garden has taken on a new life as each summer month passes by. Come take a look as I show you my beautiful blooms from June through September.

summer cottage garden and greenhouse

It happens every September.

Half of me holds on to summer for dear life, refusing to let go.

Then there’s the other half… the tired half that just wants to move on to the next phase, such as preparing my garden for the winter and starting to plan for next year.

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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that worked for me along the way.

late summer hydrangeas

It’s the time of year when I take a look back at my summer cottage and cut flower gardens. As far as I’m concerned, it’s never too early to create a garden plan with changes you want to implement for next year’s growing season.

I thought it would be fun to take you along for that look back at how it all began.

What do ya say? Are you ready for a summer garden tour?

purple dahlia blooming in the summer cottage garden

A Look at How My Pacific Northwest Summer Cottage Garden Grew

If you’ve followed Shiplap and Shells for any length of time, you know excited I get with each change that happens in my cottage garden. I’m like a little kid in a candy store whenever a plant blooms for the first time in the season.

cosmos in a summer cottage garden

The Life of a Summer Cut Flower Garden

The cut flower garden is one of my favorite outdoor spaces. Have you read the blog posts from my Cut Flower Garden Series?

So much happens here! All the flowers in this picket fence garden are annuals that were started from seed. Every year I bring back the flowers that work. But I also try a new variety or two that I haven’t grown before, switching out the flowers that I didn’t particularly like.

You can see which cut flower seeds I sowed this year in this blog post.

cut flower picket fence garden in early summer

There’s not much to look at after the seedlings have been planted in the raised beds and containers as you can see above. But soon that will change.

cut flower picket fence garden with summer blooms

The view above was a magical summer evening in July with the snapdragons, cosmos, and zinnias in full bloom. in full bloom. Some of my favorite garden pictures are shot in the summer evenings.

seedlings planted in raised beds

The front two rows in this raised bed are snapdragon starts. They start off with the tiniest seeds and end up being one of the most gorgeous blooms in the cut flower garden.

early summer plants growing in raised bed cut flower garden

Here you can see the first couple of snapdragon blooms on the first day of summer.

first few snapdragon blooms of the season
Chantilly mix snapdragons in cut flower garden


And this is the July garden. The snapdragons you see here are Chantilly Mix variety.

evening view of the summer cut flower raised beds

I’ve used netting for my snapdragon plants to help prevent damage from wind, rain, and heavy flower head growth. It’s so important to support your taller and most vulnerable summer flowers.

early summer seedlings growing in cut flower garden

The back rows are sweet pea starts and the front rows are cosmos in this raised bed.

early stages of sweet peas and cosmos in cut flower garden
summer sweet peas in cottage garden and greenhouse

Sweet Peas

I grew quite a few varieties of sweet peas this year…

  • Jilly
  • Carlotta
  • Windsor
  • Promise

You can find out more in my blog post about growing sweet peas from seed.


The pink cosmos you see above as well as the white blooms below are both a Double Click Mix variety.

pink Double Click Mix cosmos in summer cut flower garden
cosmos starter plants in raised beds

I planted another raised bed with Cupcake White and Apricot Lemonade cosmos. Cosmos are a great pollinator attractor for the garden. The bees absolutely love them!

young cosmos growing in raised beds
Cupcake white cosmos
white picket fence garden and foxglove

The June summer cottage garden and cut flower garden have not been filled out yet. But things really start shaping up in mid-July.

summer cut flower garden and greenhouse

As you can see here, the garden has officially come to life in mid to late July.

summer blooms in cut flower garden


The dahlias got a late start this year but by August they were just gorgeous. All of the flower colors complemented each other so well.

Cafe au Lait dahlia

This is the first year I’ve grown Cafe au Lait dahlias in my summer cottage garden and I am a fan for sure! My tubers, along with some gorgeous roses and lilies were from Breck’s Bulbs.

Summer cut flower garden in full bloom


My goal for this raised bed was to grow varieties of zinnias that complimented the Chantilly Mix Snapdragons planted here. This year I grew…

  • Mazurkia
  • Persian Carpet Mix
  • Queen Lime Blush
Pink zinnias
Strawflower starts in a barrel


Have you ever grown strawflowers? The seedlings that were planted in these barrels were so small and took quite a while to start growing.

Strawflowers and dahlias in a cut flower garden

Strawflowers are the most unique cut flowers I have grown. If you touch the bloom, it feels like paper and has a crunchy texture that makes you think this flower is already dried.


I decided to grow three different varieties this year…

  • Strawflower Pomegranate
  • Vintage White
  • Apricot Mix
Raised beds and white picket fence

Don’t you just love before and afters?

Here is the garden view in June (above) and July (below).

Summer cottage garden overlooking the water view

The July cottage garden has a dahlia bloom or two just starting to pop up. It felt like the dahlias were REALLY LATE blooming in the summer garden this year.

I have a theory that it may have had something to do with the unprecedented 3-day heatwave we had at the end of June, followed by cooler than usual temps.

As much as I tried to protect the plants from the excessive heat, it was still quite a stress on them.

Summer cottage garden overlooking the water view

The first week of September is always so gorgeous. This picture was taken last year but I haven’t quite been able to capture the view in quite the same way I did here.

Seriously, how could you make this view any better? This is one of my best garden captures. It was the most amazing evening.

Summer cottage garden and greenhouse

The Life of the Summer Greenhouse Garden

This greenhouse garden started off in June with Calla Lilies, Jupiter’s Beard, and newly planted petunias, marigolds, and geraniums, which were placed in the new planter my husband created. You can really see how this area started with a look at the May garden.

Summer cottage garden and greenhouse overlooking the Puget Sound

This summer cottage garden started out with some pinks but not much else. My goal is to add some late spring/ early summer plants to this space for more petal power next year.

A great way to add a pop of color to your garden is by growing annuals in a container or in the ground while the perennials are still in the process of blooming.

Summer cottage garden with greenhouse and purple petunias

Can you believe how much the purple petunias grew in just a month?

You can see a glimpse of the fully bloomed phlox on the far left side of the picture. These are cut back at the end of July but will bloom one more time in late summer before retiring until next year.

The black-eyed Susans are starting to give us a little tease around mid-July.

Summer cottage garden and greenhouse with black-eyed Susans and purple petunias

What a difference a month makes! It’s hard to believe that those black-eyed Susans are new to this greenhouse garden and were transplanted here after the mother plant was divided this spring.

Summer cottage garden and greenhouse with daisies

This greenhouse view from the other side shows off the spectacular daisies in the cottage garden. Aren’t daisies just the happiest flower in the garden?

Fun fact: I started with just one daisy plant in the garden 8 years ago, and have divided more and more plants every year.

Summer cottage garden and greenhouse with dahlias

As the daisies faded the dahlias took over this summer cottage garden space.

arbor, vintage bike and path to hydrangea garden

The Life of the Summer Hydrangea Garden

Do I have a great comparison for you! Look at how much the hydrangea blooms grew and how the colors deepened throughout the summer.

The purple phlox to the right in both pictures also added a special pop of color to this cozy “secret garden” space.

arbor, vintage bike and path to hydrangea garden

No summer cottage garden is complete without some spectacular hydrangeas. These beauties really overwhelmed me this year with their gorgeous jewel tones and complimented the phlox perfectly.

purple, blue and pink hydrangeas and wooden bench

Have you ever dried your hydrangeas for the fall season? If you have thought about it but are not sure where to start, read my blog post on 3 easy ways to dry hydrangeas.

Summer cottage garden seating area overlooking the Puget Sound

This Puget Sound Water View is the Best Seat in the Garden

Pull up a chair!

This is one of the best outdoor spaces in my summer cottage garden to take in the view and is the perfect distraction when you need one.

Summer cottage garden seating area overlooking the Puget Sound
Summer cottage garden with coneflowers overlooking the Puget Sound
Summer cottage garden with birdhouse and water view

The Many Changes the Summer Birdhouse Garden Made

I’ve always struggled with this garden. I can never quite get a constant flow of flowers blooming from spring through fall.

This year I added foxglove, delphinium, coneflower, and Anna’s Promise roses for color.

Summer cottage garden with birdhouse and water view
Anna's Promise hybrid tea roses

These Anna’s Promise Hybrid Tea Roses are from Breck’s Bulbs. Aren’t they just gorgeous?

Summer cottage garden with birdhouse and water view

And of course, the black-eyed Susans have always had a spot here where they continue to thrive.

Summer cottage garden and greenhouse with pink roses

Thanks so much for coming along on my Pacific Northwest summer cottage garden tour. Isn’t it amazing to see all the changes from month to month?

What were some of your favorite flowers in the garden this summer? Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening!


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  1. Absolutely stunning! I have far too much wildlife but I still try! ? A broken foot and the loss of our little fur baby have made this summer hard but as a former PNW girl I sooooo enjoy your blog! Thanks!

  2. Kim, not only is your garden beautiful throughout the changes in the seasons, your garden is beautiful during the changes during the changing light as the day progresses. You must treasure the moments you get to spend in this wonderful space!

  3. The garden looks incredible!!! It filled in so quickly and looks so pretty! The trough your husband built looks beautiful in the garden all potted up!

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