Conversations in the Garden 2018-06-13T16:16:13+00:00

Are You Observing? Or Are You Ignoring?

Muttering to oneself in the garden must have been at an all-time high this week. Quite apart from the fact that it is July and there is mandatory muttering to [...]

  • peace rocks, peace garden, children garden

A Place for Peace – A Garden Restored

  As a rule, young girls do not tend to frequent my lectures on gardening.  For one, they are about gardening.  And, as my heretical 16-year old daughter takes great [...]

How to Create a Container Water Feature

I like to dream big.  Maybe you do too.  But I’m also a realist with a clear idea of my garden’s current maintenance needs, the hours I have available to [...]

When Renovation Meets Landscape: Top Ten Tips for Dealing With It

In the first few days of March, a freak windstorm used a dying ash tree to create mayhem in our lives. The roof came out of that attack with over [...]

Welcome to the award-winning Small Town Gardener® –
a collection of articles filled with humor and gentle gardening advice.

Conversations in the Garden®

Nursery Spotlight: What’s Old Is New Again at Mar-Lu View

There’s something new on Frederick County’s plant scene. Perhaps you’ve seen signs in your neighborhood, pointing you in the direction of a garden center that you’ve [...]

  • lily pads, lilypons, water lilies

Nursery Spotlight: Lilypons Offers a Cooling Start to The Summer

  As hot days and warm nights begin to color the pages of July, there are very few nurseries with display gardens that can boast of [...]

  • super hero spry, benary, fritz benary

A Super Hero in Disguise

  A flower is the culmination of a seed’s story. And while there are as many stories out there as flowers, every once and awhile one [...]

Nursery Spotlight: Music, Inspiration and Retail Therapy at Surreybrooke

Join me in this series as I visit some of Frederick County, Maryland’s finest independent garden centers to find out what makes them unique. Finding and [...]

  • garden ornaments, toad hall,

In Defense of Bad Taste: The Story of Toad Hall

I spent a quiet afternoon two weeks ago working in a small garden outside my guest room windows.  The room is built into a sloping bank [...]

  • bouquets, flowers, cut flowers

Nursery Spotlight: Brews and Blooms at Thanksgiving Farms

Shopping for plants is good.  Shopping for heirloom vegetables is even better.  But when you combine those plants and veggies with a hand-crafted beer, then add [...]

  • sensitive fern, ferns, native ferns

June – A Month for Ferns

There are very few plants that make you look like a great gardener as well as a healthy stand of ferns.  Ironically, this has little to [...]

Weeks of Water

Last night my husband and I were awoken by yet another storm pounding on what currently passes for a roof around here.  After a few minutes [...]

A Gardener’s Progression of Cruelty: Volunteer Seedlings

‘One must be cruel to be kind’ is a hackneyed phrase that must have originated in a garden setting. Where else do men and women of [...]

Marianne Willburn

Passion & pain. Perspective & purpose.

That’s what gardening brings to our lives – a sense of connection to the world around us.  And that’s what this site is all about  […]

Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic?

Gokhale’s Got My Back

Over the last year, I have dealt with chronic back problems for the first time in my life. Over the last three months I have, for the most part, solved [...]

Getting Edgy

  May has dawned, and with it, the realization that my edges will have to be seen to.  I speak of course of garden beds. There is little that can [...]

Brown Is The New Green

    John Willis and I have been discussing camellias this month ( Or rather, he has been emailing me pictures of his mature specimens, blooming happily, and I have [...]

  • labels, plant labels

The Case for Plant Labeling

We all believe (as Garden Geeks) that the minds we have at twenty-four will stay supple and fit, able to remember a thousand genera and ten thousand named species at [...]

NEW! Mungo’s Journal

  • go caps

They won the Stanley Cup!!!!!! Go CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  Did you see that game?!?!!?!??!?!?!?!?! I can hardly dictate this to Siri. Seriously, I'm a little verklempt.  It's been a long night. He and The [...]

It Was a Bear

  When I say ‘a bear’ I mean bear-like.  Like, as big as a bear, only maybe bigger.  He wanted a piece of me and he [...]