Conversations in the Garden 2018-02-28T19:48:28+00:00

Gokhale’s Got My Back

Over the last year, I have dealt with chronic back problems for the first time in my life. Over the last three months I have, for the most part, solved [...]

Getting Edgy

  May has dawned, and with it, the realization that my edges will have to be seen to.  I speak of course of garden beds. There is little that can [...]

Brown Is The New Green

    John Willis and I have been discussing camellias this month ( Or rather, he has been emailing me pictures of his mature specimens, blooming happily, and I have [...]

  • labels, plant labels

The Case for Plant Labeling

We all believe (as Garden Geeks) that the minds we have at twenty-four will stay supple and fit, able to remember a thousand genera and ten thousand named species at [...]

Welcome to the award-winning Small Town Gardener® –
a collection of articles filled with humor and gentle gardening advice.

Conversations in the Garden®

What Are The California Spring Trials?

  For many gardeners, the new plants that we stumble upon each year at our nurseries, feed stores and big boxes are happy accidents.  We are [...]

The Patience to Wait

  Great gardeners and optimists know that a dead plant represents an opportunity to grow something new. But what of a dead tree? What of five? [...]

In The Frenzy of Spring, Remember The ‘Why’

Not satisfied with feeling overwhelmed with spring cleaning, spring wardrobe changeover, spring home repairs and spring holiday plans, I thought it might be clever to go [...]

Ashes to Ashes: The Legacy of The Emerald Ash Borer

About two years ago in the early winter months, I spied three pileated woodpeckers on an ash tree outside my office window and immediately felt like [...]

Growing a Beautiful, Not Just Edible, Vegetable Garden

Beautiful vegetables?  What is she talking about? Aren’t all vegetables beautiful?       For those who live and breathe a garden life and not just [...]

Air Plants, Demystified.

Air plants are the new It Girl.  From the common grocery store checkout aisle to the upscale garden center, they’re pretty much everywhere.  They’re even turning [...]

10 Reasons to See The Philadelphia Flower Show

It’s Flower Show week in Philly, and refreshed by the excitement of our electricity being restored after four days and the roof tarped against further storms, [...]

Houseplants and Insects: A Few Tips From a Pro

By this point in the winter, most houseplants have endured months of sub-optimal conditions, not to mention sub-optimal care, and insect levels may be higher than [...]

Garden 2.0: The Delight in Downsizing

Over the first half of this month I have been in California. Surely an insensitive way to start a column in a Mid-Atlantic newspaper, but I [...]

Marianne Willburn

Passion & pain. Perspective & purpose.

That’s what gardening brings to our lives – a sense of connection to the world around us.  And that’s what this site is all about  […]

Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic?

Gifts of Preparedness


New Season: New Site Hosting!

  Please bear with us in the days ahead as we transfer to a new site hosting company with improved performance, security and features.  We'll no longer have to 'redirect [...]

My Soil / My Self

Whether you like it or not, planning what you’re planting in the season ahead is less important than figuring out what you’ll be planting it in. Soil matters, and can [...]

East Coast / West Coast: We’ve All Got Our Issues

If you look carefully, there are very few places teeming with more stories than an airport terminal. In more innocent days when such things were still allowed, I’d hang out [...]

I’m Not Starting Seeds This Year. Here’s Why.

I’ve got better priorities. Granted, this is a pretty gutsy thing to say as a garden columnist, but before you revoke my license, let me tell you exactly why I [...]

NEW! Mungo’s Journal

Don’t Worry, I’ll Be Fine

  So, they left me. They totally left me. Never mind the fact that The Boy and I have a special bond, and maybe, just maybe, [...]

My Best Friend: Frisco

  I'm not really into terms like 'best friend.' It sounds like something The Girl would say, and dogs have way more dignity than to do [...]