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

Clean It Up or Let It Be: The Fall Garden

Well, we're square in the middle of the autumn season. I hope you’re enjoying your garden right now and not thinking too much about the end of it.  These last [...]

  • horticulture magazine, houseplants

Houseplant Madness

In a corner of my office under a table sporting a large philodendron and other miscellaneous greenery, there sits a large, gifted stack of ‘70’s era Horticulture magazines waiting quietly [...]

  • great dixter, exotic garden

What Can We Learn From British Gardens?

Fresh from an exhaustive three weeks driving 1800 miles to tour British gardens and their associated tea rooms, I am full of ideas and inspiration for next year’s planting schemes. [...]

  • holly, ilex, red sprite

The Berries of Autumn

Pumpkins. Cinnamon. Wood fires and Robert Frost. With familiar regularity, autumn evokes in us an emotional response and draws us back to center as winter approaches.  It softens the knowledge [...]

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

Conversations in the Garden®

  • brugmansia

The Autumn Shuffle: Tips for Overwintering Those Tropicals

Peering out of the windows of my office, I see the two-story blackened, shredded tips of a hardy banana (Musa basjoo), and I am reminded of [...]

  • walking stick, giverny, nasturtium archway

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

For reasons that are at once both simple and ridiculous, I recently managed to injure my foot in the middle of a four week walking tour [...]

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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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.  [...]

  • 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 [...]

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?

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 [...]

NEW! Mungo’s Journal

  • Jack Russell Terrier, Mungo, Beach dog, dogs

Sand and Surf

I could totally be a beach bum. Sand - no problem. I've got a wire coat, nothing sticks to it. Surf - I'm faster than any [...]

  • jack russell, groundhog

A Brief History of My Summer

Short story? Tempus fugit.   Waiting for a groundhog.  It's what I do.   Yeah, I know - big words for a dog, but [...]