Smile and Adapt: Gardening the Unexpected

By |May 27th, 2016|

A dry hot April, a wet cold May.  What is the world coming to?  Late April freezes have nixed the wisteria show for gardeners, yet month long May rains would have made the whole thing fairly pointless anyway. Ye Gods!

I am in turns content with a forced respite from the garden as I finish up […]

The Garden Tchotchke Conundrum

By |May 20th, 2016|

We’ve all got them.

Tchotchkes. Knick knacks. Doodads. More kindly put – and through squinted eyes – objets d’art.

Unless you’re a minimalist with an inflexible disposition, your rooms and shelves are probably home to many ‘little bits’ that make you smile and evoke a memory (or the image of a dust cloth).

From where I’m sitting right […]

Conquering Prejudice One Plant at a Time

By |May 13th, 2016|

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 bright, effusive, wildly […]

Ordered Chaos: The Case for a Potting Station

By |May 6th, 2016|

In every home there is a place where unfolded laundry is thrown and a week’s worth of junk is shoved when guests rap upon the door unexpectedly. For some lucky souls it may be a spare room. For others it might be a more traditional space like a basement, garage, attic, or even a cupboard […]

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, […]