Summer

The Price of Greenery is Eternal Vigilance

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In August, the gardener can be forgiven for wanting some time off.  Forgiven that is, by other gardeners – the garden itself does not forgive and does not arrest the march of progress just because you’re tired of picking beans in 70% humidity. I am not for a minute implying that you go on vacation.  [...]

Eating Well Shouldn’t Be An Elite Sport

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Human beings have sought control of their outside environments for millennia – and not without a great deal of effort. When Harry Hunter-Gatherer decided to alter the course of human civilization and grow a few hundred square feet of einkorn, it should be noted that the Extension Service was not just a phone call away [...]

Leaving Under Duress: The Gardener’s Vacation

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Visitors by the millions are heading to beaches worldwide during these weeks of summer, and no doubt there are a few who, while enjoying the sun, surf and sangria, are wondering how their garden is getting on without them.  I don’t have a comforting platitude for them any more than I have one for myself [...]

A Tropical Response to Humidity

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Humidity. It’s separating the men from the boys right now.   Only last weekend I was forced to deride guests for scuttling back inside during a deck party. The key word I was trying to impress upon them was of course ‘deck’ – but this did nothing to shame them into compliance. For that matter, [...]

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 [...]

My Romance with Becky

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Given sufficient provenance, the memory of a plant can hold a place in our affections just as the memory of an old love affair. In fact, such floral memories are perhaps sweeter, for they do not carry the attached nonsense of end-of-the-line supernovas or unresolved conversations – the bitter that always taints the sweet.  They [...]

Ordered Chaos: The Case for a Potting Station

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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 [...]

When Everyone Is Watching: Garden Design for Non-Designers

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A front-and-center garden puts artwork on display and invites accolades or criticism. I've got nothing but accolades for this Oregon homeowner. 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, [...]

Urban Chickens: The bigger picture

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Urban chickens a nuisance? I had four in this coop and no one ever knew... Well, the chickens have won. Not of course the literal chickens, exiled as pets by virtue of prejudice and ignorance, but the figurative chickens – our local leaders who would rather stand obstinately on a disintegrating platform than [...]

HOA Madness – or – Just Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

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Yeah. This'll get the clipboards out. Now I have definitely heard everything. Whilst chatting with a friend the other night over landscaping and other related topics that make others at the table suddenly realize they need to get up and refill their glasses, I was told that a local subdivision homeowners’ association board [...]