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.

Let the Cutting Back Begin

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By the beginning of April, seed starting has been featuring heavily on the gardener’s weekend to-do list, claiming what little time we have between catch-up laundry and filing the dreaded 1040.  By the time we finally draw breath and look around at the new life perhaps springing out of hedgerow and front walkway, it has [...]

How to Make the Seed Packet Chaos Easier

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  If you prefer to grow much of your garden from seed, the process of starting it can be a chaotic mess that will plague you from February till the growing season finally comes to an end in autumn.  You’ll have two months off and then before you know it, you’ll be starting the process [...]

Standing on The Edge of a New Season

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Wednesday night’s after-school activities (and I suppose one could argue, after-life activities) consist of a long drive to a neighboring community where my daughter attends her confirmation class, and I hunt for a quiet chair, an electrical outlet and an unemployed Muse to come and sit with me awhile. If the garden has seen much [...]

Garden Book SPRING GIVEAWAY!

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It’s the first day of SPRING and in celebration I’ll be giving away a copy of my new book 'Big Dreams, Small Garden' each month of the growing season ahead! If you’re struggling with a tough space or budget and need a bit of guidance/inspiration/commiseration and a ton of gorgeous photos to get you excited [...]

The 2017 PHS Flower Show – “Holland” is So Much More Than Bulbs

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Choosing a theme like “Holland: Flowering the World” gives the Philadelphia Flower Show a great opportunity to surprise and delight the public.  After all, attendees already think they know what they’ll see when they walk through that bank of doors and onto the show floor of the Convention Center:     Bulbs, and lots of [...]

Navigating an Early Season in The Garden

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Well, it certainly feels as if we’ve thwarted the groundhog. Yet I have thought this many times during my life on the East Coast and ended up with two inch green stubs to harvest for an evening’s Caesar salad. Winter will bite back before it is all done, and neither we nor our plants will [...]

Planning For…The Winter Garden?

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When the holiday buzz was blissfully over, you probably looked around your decorated surroundings with a calm eye and thought: “I’d like to find an [insert x] for next year” or, “An x sitting in that corner would sure look fabulous” or, “Did you see the beautifully lit x on their house this year?  Gorgeous!” [...]

Big Dreams, Small Garden

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Over the last eight years, I have written many columns encouraging people to face the space in which they find themselves and to create the garden that lives within them. Particularly in the midst of the difficult economic period of the last decade. Disturbingly, one of the things that I often heard when I initially [...]

Same Old, Same Old? Don’t Groundhog Day Your Landscape.

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Tempus fugit, and it’s currently fugiting at an alarming pace.  I am recently returned from trips and conferences that swallowed up December and January in phases of preparation, execution and recovery, and Christmas is still sitting on the dining room table, neatly compartmentalized and just tidy enough to consider throwing a blanket over it till [...]

Are Garden Kits Right for You?

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I’ve just returned from an exhausting but eye-popping week at MANTS, the annual Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show in Baltimore.  And, 3000 booths and a lot of handshakes later, I am now sitting in a pile of glossy, wildly gorgeous literature and trying to figure out what might be of interest to readers (and to myself) [...]