profile-pictureWelcome to the award-winning Small Town Gardener® and Conversations in the Garden® , a collection of print and web columns filled with humor and gentle gardening advice while dedicated to the passion that is gardening.

To ensure that you (and I) have time to actually garden, I don’t tend to provide endless updates on the state of my mesclun, mind or marriage  (for the record – fairly spicy, fairly sound, fairly stable).  Instead, the Small Town Gardener is a collection of some of my columns mixed with tips, advice and resources for managing and enjoying your garden month-to-month.

So for the moments when you aren’t up to your calves in compost, you can read or listen to my latest articles below, check out new updates and fun links on the right, and subscribe to the Facebook page to alert you to other articles and tips that aren’t posted here.    Are you a Mid-Atlantic gardener? This Month’s Garden will give you an idea of what you should be thinking about right now.

A garden doesn’t have to be perfect.  It doesn’t have to be large.  And in the middle of August, it doesn’t even have to be green.  It just has to be yours.  Your balcony, your patio, your rented city lot or ten acre deer preserve.  Whatever you garden, wherever you garden – join me as we plunge our hands in the earth and begin to reconnect.

– Marianne

  • surreybrooke


May 25th, 2016|0 Comments

Truly one of the highlights of my summer season, Surreybrooke’s Music in the Garden Twilight Walk, is on the calendar even before May is here.  This ticketed (always sold out), event combines gardens, friends, music and picnics-at-dusk to create a […]

  • shepgt


May 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

I realize that I’m giving you a lot to choose from on the weekend of May 21st, but luckily you don’t need to choose.  Garden tours in Frederick, MD and Shepherdstown, WV run on both Saturday AND Sunday!

You’ve already heard […]



Smile and Adapt: Gardening the Unexpected

A dry hot April, a wet cold May.  What is the world coming to?  Late April freezes have nixed the wisteria show for gardeners, yet month long May rains would have made the whole thing […]

Read More


The Garden Tchotchke Conundrum

We’ve all got them.

Tchotchkes. Knick knacks. Doodads. More kindly put – and through squinted eyes – objets d’art.

Unless you’re a minimalist with an inflexible disposition, your rooms and shelves are probably home to many ‘little […]

Read More


Conquering Prejudice One Plant at a Time

I’ve never liked Rhododendron.

There, I’ve said it.  I’ve opened myself up to the maelstrom of indignant rhodo-lovers who up until this moment thought I was a dedicated advocate for all things green.

Nope.  I’ve got likes […]

Read More


Ordered Chaos: The Case for a Potting Station

In every home there is a place where unfolded laundry is thrown and a week’s worth of junk is shoved when guests rap upon the door unexpectedly. For some lucky souls it may be a […]

Read More


Somebody Stop Me: The Frenzy of Plant Buying

We’re acquiring right now.

Oh come on, don’t pretend that you’re the only one abstaining.  Seventy-five degrees with a light easterly breeze and low humidity works on gardeners the way a little Cole Porter and the […]

Read More


Shame: The Ultimate Tutor

Embarrassment is definitely frowned upon as a teaching tool.  In a world where everyone’s a winner, no one has a wrong answer, and definitions are fluid, it might be fairly unpopular to assert that I […]

Read More


Beyond The Glass: Gardening Without a Greenhouse

“You need a greenhouse.”

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that phrase over the last ten years, I would certainly have one, financed completely by the proceeds of well-meaning friends.

Alas, life […]

Read More


Now Comes The Waiting: Planting with Patience

A nursery grower friend texted me last week over an ethical dilemma. Should she sell her precious, seed-raised specialty tomatoes (and assorted tender darlings) to customers that promised faithfully not to plant them for at […]

Read More


Raised Beds – Not Blood Pressure

I have been in a discussion this week with a friend who has just bought a new (old) house and is about to claim a bit of the brushy, overgrown seven acres for a small […]

Read More