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.

Just Starting to Plan? My Top Five Tips for Beginner Gardeners.

2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 By |

This week, five tips for beginner gardeners just starting to plan their spring gardens.   Tip #1. Keep it small Whatever else I try to do in this column, my overriding goal is to encourage more life-long gardeners, and nothing makes a person feel more inadequate and exhausted than biting off more than they can [...]

Sprouts! A Winter Garden in Your Kitchen

2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 By |

Many activities we perform in this life (and which others might never consider) are undertaken simply because we saw them modeled for us as children or young adults. Exposure to these skills helped us understand that they were far from magical, and that we were most likely capable of doing them ourselves at some point. [...]

Create a Wildlife Tree from Your Christmas Tree

2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 By |

It's over.   Most people in the country are doing one of four things right now. ① Breathing a sigh of relief. ② Wondering where December went. ③ Feeling a bit nostalgic and determined to keep the spirit of the season going. ④ Grinning at the fact that they don't have a mess to clean [...]

A Longwood Christmas: Not Just For Gardeners

2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 By |

Perhaps you’ve heard that approximately 2 ½ hours north of Central Maryland there is a world-class garden where fireworks and fountains explode every summer, horticultural splendor is commonplace and inspiration for the common gardener is calf-deep. A place called Longwood.   A magical feast in The Music Room   And perhaps you’ve ignored [...]

Of Gifts and Guilt: Five Rules for Plant Giving

2018-02-20T20:40:44+00:00 By |

‘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 [...]

End of season wrap up: My favorite plants of 2017

2018-02-20T20:40:44+00:00 By |

  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

2018-02-20T20:40:44+00:00 By |

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

2018-02-20T20:40:44+00:00 By |

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 [...]