In The Woods

The Beauty and Balance of a Small Garden

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As is usual at this time of year, I am touring other people’s gardens one day only to spend the next 48 hours in mine, rethinking everything from plant choices to maintenance plans. It’s one of the best ways I know of re-charging the batteries during a season that doesn’t stop for stragglers, but it [...]

Work or Pleasure? Well, that’s complicated.

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Last week, an audience member at a lecture asked me how I take time to enjoy my garden.  She liked to sit down, she said, and had benches everywhere to that end, but the minute she actually relaxed into one of them, her eyes would see a weed, or a wilting flower, or one of [...]

Don’t Break Your Back at The Beginning

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We launch right in, don’t we?  Even before the stores have had a chance to discretely remove the de-icing supplies and replace them with citronella buckets, we have moved mountains out there. Some of us, quite literally. The chores in the spring garden are too numerous to list and we wouldn’t have time to refer [...]

The Redbuds are Coming! The Redbuds are Coming!

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This morning I spent two precious hours as a machete-wielding rock climber cutting back vines and brambles.  This is not an unusual occupation when you live in a woodland, but today I was there for one reason and one reason only: to free from suffocation the immature redbuds that have seeded themselves along the lane [...]

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 [...]

When It All Starts to Weigh a Little Heavy: Rest.

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The wind storms of late have added substantially to workloads out here.  I’d only just finished with the last of the planting when toppled pots forced me to dig two large holes yesterday to house now homeless dwarf arborvitae. I resented every minute of it – not least of all because there are two far [...]

Mid-Atlantic Gardening – Not for The Faint of Heart

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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 further when I realized that the author wasn’t even a Mid-Atlantic gardener himself.  This gave his words great gobs of [...]

Let the Garden Soften the Journey

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  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 precious days we are granted on this Earth. Broken water lines, missed deadlines and a pointless conversation with a computerized banker featured heavily in that [...]

Conquering Prejudice One Plant at a Time

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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 got likes and dislikes just like everyone else. Some of them are irrational.  For instance, how can I love the [...]

An Exhausting Autumn

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A warm wet autumn means lots of mushroom foraging. Here oyster mushrooms & wood ears, destined for a stir fry. Boy we’ve had it good this season. A fall season that doesn’t just tempt, but delivers on a promise is a rare and precious thing, and I have wrung every bit of loveliness [...]