occupyWelcome 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



Outer Banks Vacation This Year? Consider an Elizabethan Garden Tour…

July 15th, 2016|0 Comments

How many gardeners are currently being held against their will in beach houses up and down the Outer Banks while their families burn themselves crispy on sandy beaches?  Gardeners get all that sun nonsense at home – in fact we [...]


June 24th, 2016|2 Comments

Huge smile of relief as the book manuscript heads off to my editor at Skyhorse Publishing with a click of the mouse (and thanks to the free wifi-wonderland of a good friend who also provides snacks on Fridays.) No doubt [...]





A Few Good Plants

By | July 9th, 2016|Categories: Ornamentals|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Granted, the miraculous shoot from the base of this 'slightly alive' Gordonia lasianthus is exciting - but loses it's thrill when it's an annual occurrence. I am at heart a lazy gardener, and [...]

Mid-Atlantic Gardening – Not for The Faint of Heart

By | July 1st, 2016|Categories: Digging Deeply, Edibles, In The Woods, Ornamentals, Summer|Tags: , , , , , , , |

I can’t remember which of the many gardening books I was reading the day I jubilantly came across the statement, “If you can garden in the Mid-Atlantic you can garden anywhere.” My self-satisfied smirk widened [...]

My Romance with Becky

By | June 24th, 2016|Categories: Ornamentals, Spring, Summer|Tags: , , |

Given sufficient provenance, the memory of a plant can hold a place in our affections just as the memory of an old love affair. In fact, such floral memories are perhaps sweeter, for they do [...]

Let the Garden Soften the Journey

By | June 17th, 2016|Categories: Digging Deeply, Edibles, In The Woods, Ornamentals, Spring|Tags: , , , , |

Just go outside.   We'd had a bad day, he and I. Not together mind you, but each in our separate lanes, navigating the daily demons that divert us all from enjoying the [...]

Varmints: First, a rant. Then, a solution.

By | June 10th, 2016|Categories: Digging Deeply, Edibles|Tags: , , , , |

Disappointment. 8 feet of peas = 4 peas. It was, in many ways, inevitable.  If you build it, they will come, if you plant it, they will eat.  Friends have bemoaned the loss [...]

Smile and Adapt: Gardening the Unexpected

By | May 27th, 2016|Categories: Digging Deeply, Edibles, Ornamentals, Spring|Tags: , , , |

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 [...]

The Garden Tchotchke Conundrum

By | May 20th, 2016|Categories: Digging Deeply, Edibles, Ornamentals, Spring|Tags: , , , |

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 [...]

Conquering Prejudice One Plant at a Time

By | May 13th, 2016|Categories: Digging Deeply, In The Woods, Ornamentals, Spring|Tags: , , , |

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 [...]

Ordered Chaos: The Case for a Potting Station

By | May 6th, 2016|Categories: Digging Deeply, Edibles, Fall, Ornamentals, Spring, Summer, Winter|Tags: , , , , |

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 [...]