challenge

When little becomes big – Avoiding the headache.

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  It’s disconcerting to realize your plants are bigger.  A lot bigger. When a tree or shrub finally grips the earth with a committed heart and gets down to the business of seriously growing, the gardener can instinctively feel the change.  And it’s frightening.   This Edgeworthia chrysantha doesn't look like much its second [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

‘Easy’ Is a Matter of Perspective

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Well this is one of many 'white alliums.' But I can assure you, at 3 feet, 'Mt. Everest' does not make a dainty houseplant. With millions of innovative gardeners on this planet, differences of opinion and horticultural hair-pulling sessions are bound to erupt. Most of us look forward to a little good-natured thrust [...]

Digging Into Cuttings

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Winter is a time for research, and not just of the deeper contents of one’s drinks cabinet. Are there techniques that you’ve been wanting to know a little bit more about? Perhaps you want to familiarize yourself with some of the great garden essayists, or prepare yourself to visit a few of the big name [...]

First, Do No Harm: Coping with Snow on Trees

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This extremely rude specimen has been affectionately named "Happy" - and I always avert my eyes when brushing off the snow. I'd like that bit of errant bark to make me smile just as broadly in ten years as it does now. An end-of-days snowfall is coming to the Mid-Atlantic this afternoon, if [...]