Cottage Garden Tour with Lady Butterbug

We’re excited to share a tour of Karla of @ladybutterbug’s extraordinary half-acre cottage garden! Trust me when I say, you won’t believe your eyes when you see the beauty Karla has created over the past 17 years. From vintage bike fences to stunning arches and whimsical structures, this garden is a true work of art. We also dive into Karla’s gardening journey, her favorite plants, and some valuable tips for beginners. So grab a cup of coffee (or Dr Pepper which is Karla’s drink of choice 😉) and enjoy.

Watch our full YouTube video then scroll through the photos here and take in all the details! Don’t forget to hit that subscribe when you watch!

For the past 17 years, Karla has lovingly lived in this home cultivating this cottage garden. As a teacher, she understood the value of resourcefulness, meticulously adding one section at a time. Her journey began by crafting pathways and cozy seating areas, carefully considering the hardscape elements. Once these areas were established she began planting gorgeous ground cover and shade friendly blooms under her beautiful established trees that I bet have been here for over a century.


Karla’s front lawn is no ordinary yard with just grass and a few plants close to the house. It’s a full shade garden that’s full of lush healthy plants. She has a sign at the front that welcomes people to enjoy a walk through the garden at their own leisure. She said this is why it’s challenging for her to cut flowers because she wants them outside for guests to enjoy rather than bringing them inside.

One of my favorite features here are the huge ferns hanging from the trees! In the tour she shares they’re on drip irrigation making sure they’re perfectly cared for.


Karla was inspired by a store called “Sir Wigglesworth” that she once used to shop. It’s no longer open but she held onto this inspiration and used it in her own year. On the left side they’re simply between then fence and on the right side they’re hanging from green house hoops. There’s so much whimsy with this display.


Dragon Wing Begonias are one of Karla’s favorite blooms for her garden. She shared that she orders over 60 every year between all 3 gardens that she maintains. They’re absolutely stunning. She also mentioned Torenia as one of her new favorite perennials. They come in many colors including white and purple. If you’re looking for flowers that thrive in shade these are your ticket.

She also mentioned she’s a hydrangea hoarder! I don’t blame her because they’re my favorite too. She shares that she prefers Proven Winners when she picks hydrangeas as she’s had the most success with them. She had so many big blooms in her yard so clearly she choses right. She also shared salvias as another favorite annual. They also add a lot of whimsy to the garden.

She also mentioned that the roses are doing great this year because the Christmas freeze. Roses do great after cold. I had no idea until Karla shared.

I’ll be grabbing one of each of Karla’s favorite plants next time I’m at my local garden center! Leave your favorite plant in the comments below!

The Victoria Shed

This stunning shed was named by Karla’s facebook fans—The Victoria Shed. We’re not surprised as the architectural elements definitely embraces the victorian style.Within its walls, Karla lovingly houses her cherished collection of vintage finds, patiently awaiting their destined spot in the garden. Some treasures have patiently bided their time for over 15 years, but Karla always manages to find the perfect place for each one.

Dreamy Greenhouse Hoop Walkway

When I initially walked on to Karla’s property this was what caught my eye. This beautiful walk way draws you to the backyard and is cottage garden dreams. It’s currently covered in trumpet vines but Karla shared that as her tree has grown more and not allowed the trumpet vines to get as much sun it’s started flowering less. She said she’ll eventually grow a clematis on it which will do much better in the shade.

Under the hoops you’ll travel on a vintage brick walkway that Karla laid a few years ago using solid bricks from a torn down building in downtown Howe, a small town 30 minutes away. She had to make 32 trips from Howe to Mckinney of 250 bricks per trip in her Camry. She had to balance the heavy bricks through the car for safe travel. Lots of work but well worth the effort!

As you travel down the brick walkway you’ll see a vintage Neiman Marcus coat rack loaded with dragon wing begonias in hanging baskets under a very old Texas pecan tree. I love Karla’s creative use of vintage items to display her plants.

The Greenhouse

Another dreamy structure in Karla’s backyard is her greenhouse. She DIYed her greenhouse over 15 years ago. She used old windows that came from her friend Jenny Lynn’s shop when they were replacing the windows. She decided to hire out the room rather than DIYing because she figured it’s better to let the pros use the ladder. I’m impressed she made it that far. I’m not sure I could have done one wall but I’m dreaming of creating one myself.

The Side Yard

Carla’s favorite spot in the garden is an area with begonias, clematis, and hollyhocks. She said she started her hollyhocks from seed and can’t believe how far they’ve come since. I love the bright colors! When you watch the video you’ll see how tall they are next to Karla. Truly impressive.

I hope you enjoyed this cottage garden tour as much as we did! Karla’s garden will be inspiring us for years to come. While writing this I’ve taken breaks to water and fertilize my plants 😂 I know it took Karla 17 years to create this stunning 1/2 acre garden so I better start now.

You can follow Karla on Instagram at @LadyButterbug. You can also stay at her airbnbs that also have stunning gardens waiting to be enjoyed if you plan to stay in Mckinney, Texas.

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