Conversations in the Garden 2019-01-03T23:18:29+00:00

A Case for The Mid-Atlantic Winter

January 18th, 2019|

The winters are tough out here.  I know that I write from the muddied perspective of an ex-Californian (becoming more ex by the minute), but damn. I’m also aware, as the mother of a child [...]

Coping with Snow in Your Landscape

January 16th, 2019|

A winter scene has been setting up all night as we slept, and as I write these words, the snow has covered all.  I will save the poetry and soupy language for another time lest I send you all to sleep again, and instead concentrate [...]

Staying On Top of Cool-Season Weeds

January 11th, 2019|

How should one weed in the winter? Those with a strong attachment to their recliners might say ‘one shouldn’t,’ and leave it at that. I completely understand.  I have a strong bond with my yellow tufted chair that goes quite beyond love and is entering [...]

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

Conversations in the Garden®

  • amaryllis, holiday flowers

Saving Your Holiday Amaryllis

The New Year is beckoning, and the human condition being what it is, the decorations that made your home festive and exciting a few short days [...]

  • christmas wreath, holiday wreath making, natural wreath

Nail It! Three Tricks to Make a Gorgeous Natural Wreath This Season

It's the weekend before Christmas, and even though you've tried to ignore it, the spirit is in the air and you have an itch to undertake [...]

  • longwood, longwood christmas, floating christmas trees

Ten Tips for a Day Trip to A Longwood Christmas

Every year around this time, I get into a car with my husband and a couple friends and make the journey over hill and dale and [...]

Get Your Festive On

December. Joy, Mirth, and seventeen other one word slogans on cotton dishtowels.     Are you ready? We are sent out to achieve the impossible this [...]

  • circular steps, luytens, succulents, great dixter

Experimentation as Energy: Lessons from Great Dixter

Just before leaving for Great Britain three months ago, I threw an overnight case in the back of a friend’s overworked Prius and headed down to [...]

  • thanksgiving table arrangement, natural materials, decorating, thanksgiving

Decorating The Thanksgiving Table with Natural Materials

It’s Thanksgiving morning.  What have you forgotten? You’ve thrown the turkey in the oven, the stuffing is made and on its way to being glorious, and [...]

  • gravel garden, beth chatto gardens, essex, british gardens, british tours

Right Plant, Right Place – The Wisdom of Beth Chatto

“We lost too many plants in our impatience to possess them, because we had not achieved the proper growing conditions.” - Beth Chatto, The Beth Chatto [...]

Tired of Predictions? There’s a Better Way.

Gird your loins with a bit of Under Armour and tuck in a Hot Hands pack. The forecasters have consulted the Oracle and it looks like [...]

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 [...]

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  […]

Are you gardening in the Mid-Atlantic?

January’s Garden

A new year, a new growing season. Yep, it's time to seriously start thinking about what you're going to do out there. However. For these days of January...and perhaps for a further few in February, I'd like to add another element to This Month's Garden - the DON'T list. These are those things that we should NOT, under any circumstance, [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 the work to be [...]

NEW! Mungo’s Journal

  • jack russell terrier

Who The Hell is Gutenberg Anyway?

I guess it makes sense. I've been referred to as rat, rat-dog, rat-man, and pig-dog (I think that last one had something to do with my [...]

  • 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 [...]