In The Woods

Flexibility in the Midst of Uncertainty: A Chat with Scott Aker

By |2019-01-22T21:27:14+00:00January 25th, 2019|

In the last days of 2018, there was one email I looked forward to each morning in amongst the coupons and the Groupons and the chaff and the wheat that now passes for correspondence in the 21st century. It was from Agrible, Inc.® - an agricultural and commercial service headquartered in Illinois that provides farmers [...]

Nail It! Three Tricks to Make a Gorgeous Natural Wreath This Season

By |2018-12-20T17:04:01+00:00December 20th, 2018|

It's the weekend before Christmas, and even though you've tried to ignore it, the spirit is in the air and you have an itch to undertake one last decorating project: a natural wreath for the front door. Except...you've never really nailed the art of wreath making. 'Spindly' and 'amateurish' are words that figure prominently in [...]

Decorating The Thanksgiving Table with Natural Materials

By |2018-11-23T15:38:48+00:00November 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+00:00November 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 [...]

The Return of the Queen

By |2018-10-06T12:29:35+00:00October 6th, 2018|

There are no adventures quite as adventurous as reclaiming the garden after a long absence abroad – and during the height of the growing season no less. From bewilderment to bloodshed to tears, it has been an interesting week.  Moreover, there are still miles to go before I sleep, and the winter is not drawing [...]

Weeks of Water

By |2018-06-04T16:16:46+00:00June 6th, 2018|

Last night my husband and I were awoken by yet another storm pounding on what currently passes for a roof around here.  After a few minutes of staring at the ceiling thinking about the gutters, the bridge, the foundation, the tarped roof, the barn, the trees and the newly sand-mortared patio amongst other night terrors, [...]

A Gardener’s Progression of Cruelty: Volunteer Seedlings

By |2018-06-03T19:23:58+00:00June 1st, 2018|

‘One must be cruel to be kind’ is a hackneyed phrase that must have originated in a garden setting. Where else do men and women of good conscience perpetuate extreme acts of violence without a moment’s thought or consideration of that conscience? Once the deed is done – be it dismemberment or execution – ‘tis [...]

The Case for Plant Labeling

By |2018-04-21T16:15:00+00:00April 21st, 2018|

We all believe (as Garden Geeks) that the minds we have at twenty-four will stay supple and fit, able to remember a thousand genera and ten thousand named species at a moment’s notice – not that we have much call to provide such information at a moment’s notice (at that age) unless we’re lucky enough [...]

The Patience to Wait

By |2018-04-11T00:20:22+00:00April 10th, 2018|

  Great gardeners and optimists know that a dead plant represents an opportunity to grow something new. But what of a dead tree? What of five? So much opportunity at one time can cloud a mind already weakened by the fumes of a chainsaw. It’s probably best then to stifle knee-jerk reactions – particularly the [...]

In The Frenzy of Spring, Remember The ‘Why’

By |2018-04-02T18:40:00+00:00March 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 [...]

Ashes to Ashes: The Legacy of The Emerald Ash Borer

By |2018-03-24T15:04:45+00:00March 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 [...]