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About Marianne Willburn

Marianne is the mother of two, wife of one and the voice of The Small Town Gardener. She gardens and writes from her home in the scenic (and exceptionally convenient) heart of Virginia's wine country.

In The Frenzy of Spring, Remember The ‘Why’

By | 2018-04-02T18:40:00+00:00 March 30th, 2018|

Not satisfied with feeling overwhelmed with spring cleaning, spring wardrobe changeover, spring home repairs and spring holiday plans, I thought it might be clever to go outside last week, pick up a trowel and increase my anxiety in the spring garden. Beginning the process means a shift in priorities and a horrifying realization of everything [...]

Neither an Influencer Nor a Follower Be

By | 2018-02-20T20:41:09+00:00 January 5th, 2016|

[ed. The following article can also be found stirring up comments at Garden Rant later this week.] Tesselaar’s Blue Storm Agapanthus is worth growing because it’s a high-impact, no-nonsense plant, not because it typifies the 2016 Color of the Year “Serenity” – photo credit: Tesselaar Plants, 2006 Though I enjoy dressing well, I’m [...]

PHILADELPHIA FLOWER SHOW – MARCH 5-13 – CELEBRATES THE BEAUTY OF AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS

By | 2018-02-20T20:41:09+00:00 January 4th, 2016|

Maybe it's time to stop saying "I should do that this year..." and put the date firmly on the calendar. If you've heard about the Philadelphia Flower show but never been, find a companion, drive into beautiful Philadelphia and experience the magic that wows over a quarter-million visitors every year. The show couldn't be at a better time for [...]

It’s Time to Get Serious About Your Vegetables

By | 2018-02-20T20:41:10+00:00 October 17th, 2015|

What once was Melones Reservoir in Calaveras County. If you look closely you can see the old bridge once covered by a hundred feet of water. I’m writing from California this week. My whereabouts are usually not relevant in an age of laptops, Wi-Fi cafes and toilet texting, but this week they are, [...]

Quick Garden Fixes – guest post by Tesselaar Plants

By | 2018-02-20T20:41:10+00:00 September 8th, 2015|

This month a guest post from Tesselaar Plants that I found exceedingly helpful in guiding the gardener to take a hard look at  things that may or may not be working in his or her garden - and then taking steps to solve them.  Tesselaar grows some gorgeous plants, but many of them are not [...]

Urban Chickens: The bigger picture

By | 2018-02-20T20:41:10+00:00 August 18th, 2015|

Urban chickens a nuisance? I had four in this coop and no one ever knew... Well, the chickens have won. Not of course the literal chickens, exiled as pets by virtue of prejudice and ignorance, but the figurative chickens – our local leaders who would rather stand obstinately on a disintegrating platform than [...]

HOA Madness – or – Just Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

By | 2018-02-20T20:41:10+00:00 August 6th, 2015|

Yeah. This'll get the clipboards out. Now I have definitely heard everything. Whilst chatting with a friend the other night over landscaping and other related topics that make others at the table suddenly realize they need to get up and refill their glasses, I was told that a local subdivision homeowners’ association board [...]