mwillburn

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.

Ten Tips for a Day Trip to A Longwood Christmas

By | 2018-12-13T18:25:00+00:00 December 13th, 2018|

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 White Marsh Shopping center to Longwood Gardens.  The drive is a long one. But a day savoring A Longwood Christmas and the pleasures of conversation stimulated by thousands of [...]

Experimentation as Energy: Lessons from Great Dixter

By | 2018-11-30T18:20:20+00:00 November 30th, 2018|

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 Raleigh to attend a lecture being given by Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter, and the Chief Executive of its charitable trust. Many gardeners, especially those who read [...]

Decorating The Thanksgiving Table with Natural Materials

By | 2018-11-23T15:38:48+00:00 November 21st, 2018|

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 your sister is bringing the rolls and jello. In a few minutes the game and/or parade will start blaring from the living room and you can start to relax. [...]

Right Plant, Right Place – The Wisdom of Beth Chatto

By | 2018-11-16T20:01:10+00:00 November 16th, 2018|

“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 Handbook _______________________________ If ever a sentence deserves a garden writers' gold medal for excellence and simplicity, it is this one, written decades ago by gardener and garden designer, the [...]

Tired of Predictions? There’s a Better Way.

By | 2018-11-15T13:46:51+00:00 November 15th, 2018|

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 those of us in the Mid-Atlantic may be in for a cold, snowy winter. Or not.     It’s tough to fault them for throwing something out there, no [...]

Clean It Up or Let It Be: The Fall Garden

By | 2018-11-09T12:10:45+00:00 November 9th, 2018|

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 little drops of fall are to be savored – after all, they are what we will remember when the January banshees start to scream.   [...]

Houseplant Madness

By | 2018-11-07T16:34:51+00:00 November 7th, 2018|

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 for a rainy day and the resident gardener who finds enjoyment in such things. That metaphorical day arrived last week – for the literal one [...]

What Can We Learn From British Gardens?

By | 2018-11-01T22:24:20+00:00 November 1st, 2018|

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. The British know how to do it. The hype is real. But what exactly is that ‘it’ comprised of? Cottagey color? Architectural hedging? Jam covered [...]