mwillburn

Marianne Willburn

About Marianne Willburn

Marianne is the mother of two, wife of one and the voice of The Small Town Gardener. She gardens and writes from her home in the scenic (and exceptionally convenient) heart of Virginia's wine country.

Of Gifts and Guilt: Five Rules for Plant Giving

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‘Tis the season for giving, and once this season ‘tis over, another one ‘tis right around the corner. So this morning it occurs to me to discuss for a minute the perfect pairing of plants and gift giving. Is it actually perfect?   Before you answer however, I’d like to ask you a few more [...]

May I introduce Mungo?

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  Many long time readers don't need an introduction to Mungo, our well-loved Jack Russell who is my constant companion in the garden.  Every garden should have a garden dog, and if you're a cat person instead, every garden should have a garden cat.  We've got both (well, several when it comes to cats) and [...]

End of season wrap up: My favorite plants of 2017

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  Now that the garden has gently shifted into architecture and mush, it’s time to reflect on the plants we grew this season and decide whether we’ll continue to grow them for seasons to come. Whether sexy new introductions or old favorites, plants excite each one of us for totally different reasons and what lights [...]

Gift Ideas and Events for The Holiday Season

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December first and I’m just as shocked as you are by how quickly it got here. However, as I was sunning myself on foreign beaches last December, quaffing numerous rum punches, and feeling a bit confused by having them handed to me by Santa-clad Rastafarians in flip-flops, I intend to embrace the cold, the brown, [...]

Maintenance vs. Stewardship: Turning a New Leaf

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I’m not a fan of renaming something in order to change public perception. Language is powerful, minds are pliable and as any politician knows, we can quickly distance ourselves from the truth of the matter. However, every once and awhile a definition is beautifully expanded by rephrasing a term, and such is the case when [...]

A Better Black Friday

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Whether we have fully accepted it or not, the holiday season officially kicks off the day after Thanksgiving. You may reject the idea of Big Box lines at 2am for unnecessary gadgets and must-have technology (I do), but – completely against your will – you may also find yourself getting just a little excited at [...]

Let’s Discuss, Not Demonize.

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I don’t bring politics into this column as a rule.  One, we have enough of that sort of thing relentlessly bombarding us without my two cents on the subject. Two, as a writer dedicated to broccoli and bergenia, I am hardly qualified to tell others what to do at the ballot box. Nor will I [...]

Disconnecting to Connect: The Modern Challenge

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“Is the world getting more complicated, or am I just getting older?” said my sister over the phone this week.  My junior by eight years, she is awash in toddler mayhem (her third Mission Impossible), which includes, but is not limited to, sketchy nap times, bottles of soap poured all over the floor and endless [...]

Plant Hoarding: When Too Much is Not Enough

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A little shifting of the pot ghetto yesterday revealed one too many plants happily rooted in the soil beyond their pots. It is good soil certainly, and I do not blame them, but the discovery is an inconvenient one.  I have been quite content to believe that a healthy three foot dawn redwood was satisfied [...]

An Easier Way to Overwinter Tropicals

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Hopefully by now you have brought in the majority of your tender succulents and tropical evergreens for the [presumably] long winter ahead.  And hopefully by now, you have found room for them in living spaces that will soon bear the clutter of holiday decorating and higher-than-average persons per square foot. Dealing with this chaotic shuffle [...]