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

The Return of the Queen

There are no adventures quite as adventurous as reclaiming the garden after a long absence abroad – and during the height of the growing season no less. From bewilderment to [...]

  • shade, seats, chanticleer, patio

Tips for Visiting Gardens With Heretics

By the time you read these words, I’ll be gone. I might add, “to a higher place,” but that wouldn’t sit very well with those who consider American gardens to [...]

  • foliage, flower, begonia grandis

Let’s Lose The Zealotry & Plant for Joy

“Plant for foliage!” is a term you have probably heard a great deal over the last few years.  But then you’ve probably also heard “Plant for pollinators!” and more than [...]

Planting For Pollinators? Let the Neighborhood Know!

  Gardeners are proud of their gardens for a host of different reasons. Some gardeners spend a great deal of time blending or contrasting color schemes.  Others love creating secret [...]

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

Conversations in the Garden®

  • cuttings Forsythe pot

Plant Propagation: With Great Cuttings Comes Great Responsibility

When I give you a cutting, it’s more than likely I’m going to remember. It’s not that I’m obsessed, controlling or critical (that’s a different conversation [...]

Change Up Your Plants

Tired of the same old, same old?  Euonymus and Knock-Out roses just not blowing your proverbial skirt up anymore?  I understand.  It’s not that we don’t [...]

  • summer squash, squash borer

Of Vegetables and Weeds

Thankful as most of us are for the drenching rain this weekend and thunderstorms this week, it remains a hot summer with wasps and Johnson grass [...]

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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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?

  • 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 of those stories stands [...]

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 buying plants that you [...]

  • 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 and partially surrounded by [...]

  • 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 a band, a food [...]

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 [...]