mwillburn

Marianne Willburn

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.

Gardener, Know Thyself

By |2020-05-12T16:00:55+00:00May 11th, 2020|

On the way to the chickens this morning I placed my coffee mug on the ground in order to tidy the fading blooms of a primrose. I can clearly see now that setting down the mug was the point at which I lost control of the situation. A one-handed tidy performed indifferently from the walking [...]

Vegetable Gardening on a Smaller Scale

By |2020-04-29T21:24:11+00:00March 25th, 2020|

Are you one of many people right now thinking about supplementing your grocery budget with a vegetable garden, but trying to figure out how to grow vegetables with limited space? Worldwide, gardeners and would-be gardeners are living with increasingly smaller yards, or finding themselves with only a balcony or patio at their disposal. It's easy [...]

Garden Regionally. Get Inspired Globally.

By |2020-04-18T18:28:27+00:00October 18th, 2019|

I can't resist a challenge.  And neither, apparently can Scott Beuerlein of Horticulture & Garden Rant.  Thus, my rebuttal to his rebuttal to...well, you get it.  She-devil? Me? Somewhere near the bottom of every writer's artistic license, a clever wordsmith will find the following recommendation: "Comically exaggerating the position of one's opponent is encouraged in [...]

Weed Smart: Strategies to Accomplish More with The Time You Have

By |2019-09-20T15:11:12+00:00September 20th, 2019|

September has suddenly turned.  Last night on the deck we ate an al fresco dinner of bratwurst, sauerkraut and apples with heaps of coarse mustard on warmed plates and I found myself thinking out loud about a large fire in the hearth on the other side of the window. My husband stared at me wordlessly [...]

Weed Smart: Tools and Tips

By |2019-09-20T21:10:40+00:00September 13th, 2019|

Printed directions and warnings for products that require only a modicum of common sense exhaust me. Yesterday I purchased a vanity mirror with accompanying booklet in four languages on how to a) plug it in and b) turn it on.  On page four were various line drawings in red and black depicting line people being [...]

New House. New Garden. New Choices

By |2019-09-12T17:09:25+00:00September 6th, 2019|

Friends have recently moved into their This-Is-The-One.  ‘Exciting’ doesn’t seem strong enough to capture the emotions that such a move elicits.  There is excitement, certainly, and joy; but also sadness in the changing of neighborhoods, of community, and in losing the familiar daily routines that quietly build the foundations we rely upon. Two weeks ago, [...]

Hie Thee To a Garden!

By |2019-07-11T17:17:16+00:00May 12th, 2019|

May is here. Whether you’re a gardener or merely a part-time forest-bather, those words have got to get your heart pumping.  This year I admit to feeling that we haven’t quite earned it (the winter being so mild), but I will accept the gift nonetheless.  It is my favorite month of the year, and ironically [...]

The Carefree Magic of Zinnia

By |2019-03-27T19:40:14+00:00March 29th, 2019|

Sometimes we need an easy win.     We need a riot of color that looks like we planned it, even if we didn’t. We need ‘low maintenance’ and ‘average soils.’ We need something along the lines of ‘direct sow’ and ‘blooms from summer ‘till frost.’ And while we’re at it, we’ll take ‘deer resistant,’ [...]

The Charms of a Few Chicks

By |2019-03-27T18:22:42+00:00March 27th, 2019|

My subconscious was working overtime last week. At about the same time I was throwing up my hands up at the cruel and unusual punishment that is parenting today’s American teenager, I decided to pick up ten random balls of fluffy, need-me-desperately adoration. And, within the space of six days and a half a bag [...]

First, Do No Harm

By |2019-03-14T19:21:48+00:00March 15th, 2019|

I intended yesterday to have a little walk around the place, observing what was and what wasn’t coming up. And I did. But these things always evolve (some would argue, devolve) into a large scale something or other, and before I knew it, I had taken the serpentine bed almightily in hand.  A strong, sexy [...]