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

  • 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 […]

  • beyondthegarden


April 18th, 2016|0 Comments

It’s garden tour time folks, and for those in Central Maryland or Northern Virginia, this one is right in our backyard. For over twenty years, the Frederick, Maryland Beyond the Garden Gates tour has attracted gardeners and non-gardeners alike to […]



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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Foodscaping on a Smaller Scale

This is America. We super-size everything from our sofas to our fries. And when it comes to our plants the same rules apply – we want Mortgage Lifter tomatoes and Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkins.

Or do […]

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This isn’t your grandmother’s Show: Philly rocks it with “Explore America”

I cannot say I was optimistic this morning, heading north and wondering how on Earth the Philadelphia Horticultural Society was going to pull off a show dedicated to the immense grandeur of America’s National Parks.

They […]

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When you make your own yogurt but don’t milk your own goats: Finding your place in an age of homesteading fanaticism

It’s a running joke amongst our friends that our place is the safe house for any type of future apocalyptic scenario. I’d like to believe that they just want to get together, laugh, drink wine, […]

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‘Easy’ Is a Matter of Perspective

With millions of innovative gardeners on this planet, differences of opinion and horticultural hair-pulling sessions are bound to erupt. Most of us look forward to a little good-natured thrust and parry – particularly in February […]

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