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.

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 [...]

The Autumn Shuffle: Tips for Overwintering Those Tropicals

By | 2018-10-25T13:41:49+00:00 October 25th, 2018|

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 done this week to its less hardy cousins. Is it really that time already? Musa basjoo, the night before frost. In my weaker [...]

Tips for Visiting Gardens With Heretics

By | 2018-08-23T22:17:32+00:00 August 23rd, 2018|

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 be the best in the world. I don’t necessarily think of any country’s gardens as ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than those of any other, but it [...]

Let’s Lose The Zealotry & Plant for Joy

By | 2018-08-18T04:02:09+00:00 August 17th, 2018|

“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 likely you’ve heard both slogans here (though I do try and stay away from the excessive use of exclamation marks in my proselytizing). But if [...]

Planting For Pollinators? Let the Neighborhood Know!

By | 2018-08-09T16:11:31+00:00 August 10th, 2018|

  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 rooms or impressive hardscaping. But if you’re a gardener that spends just as much time watching the creatures that pollinate your garden as planting the [...]