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.

Ashes to Ashes: The Legacy of The Emerald Ash Borer

By | 2018-03-24T15:04:45+00:00 March 23rd, 2018|

About two years ago in the early winter months, I spied three pileated woodpeckers on an ash tree outside my office window and immediately felt like an Audubon rock star.  These are large, colorful birds – the sight of which gives the amateur birder a feeling of accomplishment. The sight of three sent this ignoramus [...]

Growing a Beautiful, Not Just Edible, Vegetable Garden

By | 2018-03-15T15:00:27+00:00 March 16th, 2018|

Beautiful vegetables?  What is she talking about? Aren’t all vegetables beautiful?       For those who live and breathe a garden life and not just a garden life-style, the answer is of course yes.  Even flopping potato vines are attractive when you know that there are forty pounds of soon-to-be buttered lusciousness a few [...]

Air Plants, Demystified.

By | 2018-03-12T20:25:25+00:00 March 9th, 2018|

Air plants are the new It Girl.  From the common grocery store checkout aisle to the upscale garden center, they’re pretty much everywhere.  They’re even turning up in the houses of your less-horticulturally inclined friends (which was probably your first clue that this particular plant trend isn’t just for those who know a hydrangea from [...]

10 Reasons to See The Philadelphia Flower Show

By | 2018-03-23T14:40:18+00:00 March 7th, 2018|

It’s Flower Show week in Philly, and refreshed by the excitement of our electricity being restored after four days and the roof tarped against further storms, yesterday I decided to stop moping around in fourteen layers of fleece, shower off the pervading smell of wood smoke and un-cancel somewhat cancelled plans to grab a friend [...]

Houseplants and Insects: A Few Tips From a Pro

By | 2018-03-02T21:39:55+00:00 March 2nd, 2018|

By this point in the winter, most houseplants have endured months of sub-optimal conditions, not to mention sub-optimal care, and insect levels may be higher than we think. We’ve still got at least two months before these pots can safely hit Mid-Atlantic patios and decks for the summer season, and if we want to have [...]

New Season: New Site Hosting!

By | 2018-02-23T21:14:15+00:00 February 23rd, 2018|

  Please bear with us in the days ahead as we transfer to a new site hosting company with improved performance, security and features.  We'll no longer have to 'redirect you' through a second party firewall and hopefully I won't have to spend any more precious gardening time screaming at the computer.  For subscribers, you [...]

My Soil / My Self

By | 2018-02-23T21:12:45+00:00 February 15th, 2018|

Whether you like it or not, planning what you’re planting in the season ahead is less important than figuring out what you’ll be planting it in. Soil matters, and can spell the difference between healthy, beautiful plants that resist the malevolent forces of Mother Nature, or weak, pest-infested plants that you have to stop yourself [...]

East Coast / West Coast: We’ve All Got Our Issues

By | 2018-02-23T20:15:17+00:00 February 9th, 2018|

If you look carefully, there are very few places teeming with more stories than an airport terminal. In more innocent days when such things were still allowed, I’d hang out occasionally at the international arrivals gate watching people reconnect after time apart. The idea that I should have so much free time on my hands [...]

I’m Not Starting Seeds This Year. Here’s Why.

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:42+00:00 February 2nd, 2018|

I’ve got better priorities. Granted, this is a pretty gutsy thing to say as a garden columnist, but before you revoke my license, let me tell you exactly why I think it’s critical to share this with you.     I try very hard to live what I write. That is, if I spend an [...]