In The Woods

My Stiff Upper Lip Has Frozen In Place

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 January 5th, 2018|

Well, that’s December over with.  I say this with a great deal of regret, as December is my resting month in the garden and it is always too short. Last night I happened across a differing opinion in an early essay* by British celebrity gardener and writer Monty Don. He sharpened his tongue against the [...]

End of season wrap up: My favorite plants of 2017

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:44+00:00 December 7th, 2017|

  Now that the garden has gently shifted into architecture and mush, it’s time to reflect on the plants we grew this season and decide whether we’ll continue to grow them for seasons to come. Whether sexy new introductions or old favorites, plants excite each one of us for totally different reasons and what lights [...]

Plant Hoarding: When Too Much is Not Enough

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:45+00:00 November 4th, 2017|

A little shifting of the pot ghetto yesterday revealed one too many plants happily rooted in the soil beyond their pots. It is good soil certainly, and I do not blame them, but the discovery is an inconvenient one.  I have been quite content to believe that a healthy three foot dawn redwood was satisfied [...]

Planning Now for a More Manageable Garden Later

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:45+00:00 October 6th, 2017|

Many believe wholeheartedly that the time to plan your garden is in the depths of winter. Perhaps this is true in terms of the minutiae; but after years of implementing the overreach that winter weather inspires in the bedraggled, I cannot recommend it.  No, the time to plan next year’s garden is now, before the [...]

Portrait of a Weed: Japanese Stilt Grass

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:45+00:00 October 4th, 2017|

Usually, a couple of hours outside on my hands and knees is all it takes to get the wheels of the mind careening toward a publishable, if highly editable, product.  This week, it took ten minutes.     Ten minutes of repetitive grasping, pulling and tossing massive wads of reddening Japanese Stilt Grass (Microstegium vimineum) [...]

Every Garden Has Its Weakness: Here’s Mine.

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:46+00:00 August 18th, 2017|

For all the successes I have had with our new garden at Oldmeadow, there are parts of this space that defy any attempts to create beauty.  They are so awkward, so large, so weedy and so uninspiring that had I ten times the budget I am not certain I could solve them, unless that budget [...]

Creation vs. Maintenance: A Balancing Act

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:46+00:00 July 14th, 2017|

One of the most popular talks I've been giving lately deals with maintenance and balancing one’s life with one’s garden – more specifically, not taking on a project that creates six new maintenance projects in the foreseeable hereafter when the lifeboat is already taking on water. And to those watching me bounce around the podium, [...]

The Beauty and Balance of a Small Garden

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:48+00:00 June 2nd, 2017|

As is usual at this time of year, I am touring other people’s gardens one day only to spend the next 48 hours in mine, rethinking everything from plant choices to maintenance plans. It’s one of the best ways I know of re-charging the batteries during a season that doesn’t stop for stragglers, but it [...]