Welcome to the Cottage.

The Tiny Canal Cottage® is a 1920's Craftsman-style house by the Venice Beach Canals in Southern California. This <400 sqft home/office is the full-time residence of Creative Director Whitney Leigh Morris, her husband, their son, and two rescue beagles.

I Wish I'd Known This Gardening Tip Sooner

I Wish I'd Known This Gardening Tip Sooner

This blog post was sponsored by The Home Depot. All words and opinions are my own.

I have desperately wanted to redo the lawn portion of our lil’ garden for a year now. When we finally get around to it, it will be our FOURTH TIME switching up the surface of the yard. Looking back, I really wish I’d known more about tending to failing patches of the grass and ground cover back when we first moved in. It would’ve been more cost-effective, earth-friendly, and it would’ve saved us so much time and effort had we’d known what we were doing from the onset. In an effort to learn more about what I can do to get our tiny oasis right this time around, I recently attended a gardening event sponsored by The Home Depot and PopSugar here in LA, where I learned a few key tips and tricks that I’m eager to try here at the Cottage when the time comes.


The event was hosted at the gorgeous Lombardi House, and it started off with an easy and delightful gardening DIY. 


My Venice Beach neighbor Erica of PS I Made This lead the group from a gorgeous Veranda deck that was constructed for the occasion. 


We made our own compact planter boxes, and filled them with miracle gro and Bonnie herbs and veggies, which Adam can use when cooking or crafting cocktails at home. (For those who didn’t feel up to hammering together the planter box, there was a great bamboo planter bowl alternative at-hand.)


We spray painted some basic paint stirrers, which made the most adorable plant name markers for the containers:


While we were working away on our project, I chatted with the team from The Home Depot about ways to keep struggling portions of a lawn alive. It’s surprisingly tricky here in Venice— there is an intense marine layer, which keeps the shaded portions of our garden damp year-round. And yet we’re also prone to drought and intense sunlight, which can fry other portions of the yard. Also, having a toddler and 2 dogs in this small stretch of outdoor space means that our lawn gets A LOT of wear-and-tear, so that’s an additional issue when it comes to keeping our green floor clean and happy. 

Years ago, I’d tried a garden spot repair product that didn’t work. I eventually I gave up on our grass, and we switched to artificial cover in preparation for our home-wedding. While I love the green, I’ve never liked the faux look and feel. (I grew up in a lush and verdant part of Florida, so I still can’t wrap my brain around the concept of fake grass.) I find myself cloaking the ground with outdoor or washable rugs every chance I get:


At the event, I was introduced to Pennington One Step Complete, which works for new growth OR spot repair, and is effective in areas of sunny and moderately shady gardens. It can handle drought, and helps save water. WHY DIDN’T I TRY THIS YEARS AGO? I am sincerely looking forward to putting it to use on our new lawn in the near future. 


The team also told me about Sevin, which protects home-grown veggies and fruits. This product probably would've saved us from having to toss pound after pound of our cottage-grown grapes and strawberries that were gnawed on by bugs in the past. Sevin is safe for edible plants and is fine to use around pets, and protects edible gardens (as well as ornamental gardens) from hungry pests. The grapevines at the cottage grow rapidly in May and June, and the concords start to develop and ripen throughout the summer, so we learned about this just in time for our 7th year of harvesting grapes.


What a lovely, informative and productive day! Sincerest thanks to The Home Depot and PopSugar for including me!


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