Somebody Stop Me: The Frenzy of Plant Buying

By |April 29th, 2016|

We’re acquiring right now.

Oh come on, don’t pretend that you’re the only one abstaining.  Seventy-five degrees with a light easterly breeze and low humidity works on gardeners the way a little Cole Porter and the smell of fresh roasted coffee works on bookstore browsers. We are lambs to the slaughter.  Cha-ching.

Spring creates the worst kind […]

Shame: The Ultimate Tutor

By |April 21st, 2016|

Embarrassment is definitely frowned upon as a teaching tool.  In a world where everyone’s a winner, no one has a wrong answer, and definitions are fluid, it might be fairly unpopular to assert that I have learned some of my best lessons sporting a red face and sheepish grin – but as it’s absolutely true, […]

Beyond The Glass: Gardening Without a Greenhouse

By |April 15th, 2016|

“You need a greenhouse.”

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that phrase over the last ten years, I would certainly have one, financed completely by the proceeds of well-meaning friends.

Alas, life doesn’t work that way, and so I have spent many years making do with what I have in order to […]

Now Comes The Waiting: Planting with Patience

By |April 1st, 2016|

A nursery grower friend texted me last week over an ethical dilemma. Should she sell her precious, seed-raised specialty tomatoes (and assorted tender darlings) to customers that promised faithfully not to plant them for at least another five weeks?

“They want them.” she agonized.  “They say they are going to care for them…but five weeks?”

She knows […]

Raised Beds – Not Blood Pressure

By |March 24th, 2016|

I have been in a discussion this week with a friend who has just bought a new (old) house and is about to claim a bit of the brushy, overgrown seven acres for a small vegetable garden.

The conversation began with matters of tilling: Did I have phone numbers of people who could come over with […]

Foodscaping on a Smaller Scale

By |March 17th, 2016|

This is America. We super-size everything from our sofas to our fries. And when it comes to our plants the same rules apply – we want Mortgage Lifter tomatoes and Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkins.

Or do we?
This is also America at the end of a long recession. Increasing amounts of would-be-gardeners are looking around smaller yards, […]

This isn’t your grandmother’s Show: Philly rocks it with “Explore America”

By |March 4th, 2016|

I cannot say I was optimistic this morning, heading north and wondering how on Earth the Philadelphia Horticultural Society was going to pull off a show dedicated to the immense grandeur of America’s National Parks.

They did more than pull it off.  Spring is on display in Philadelphia. And boy is it on display.  As a […]

When Everyone Is Watching: Garden Design for Non-Designers

By |November 19th, 2015|

Designing a garden is a humbling experience, period. But when your design is instantly on display because you are planting an entrance or a driveway, it’s a worrying experience. And, if you know that someday in the near future, gardeners will visit, scan your efforts and possibly pronounce them lacking, the process is just plain […]

The Garden Remembers

By |July 2nd, 2015|

This morning I caught my breath to find new shoots breaking through the soil on a St. John’s Wort I thought had died in transit from Oregon several weeks ago. Hypericum calycinum is not a difficult plant, nor as rare as the nursery finds that shared its cramped suitcase on the flight home; but as […]

The Gnat Hat

By |June 15th, 2015|

We’re on the Virginia side of the river now, but even so, I have read with interest the heroic efforts of a local Maryland citizen who is determined to eradicate our shared gnat problem by enlisting the big guns of the government. I must say, when we moved to this area near the Potomac […]