Ornamentals

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 [...]

Sorting, Testing, and Storing Those Seeds

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:42+00:00 January 26th, 2018|

My mother has seed packets that are older than I am. Frugality plays a role here I am sure, but nostalgia is probably at the heart of it. I still keep a somewhat crumpled Martha Stewart packet, long emptied of its thyme seeds, just to remind me of how high-end marketing and softly lit photos [...]

Just Starting to Plan? My Top Five Tips for Beginner Gardeners.

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 January 19th, 2018|

This week, five tips for beginner gardeners just starting to plan their spring gardens.   Tip #1. Keep it small Whatever else I try to do in this column, my overriding goal is to encourage more life-long gardeners, and nothing makes a person feel more inadequate and exhausted than biting off more than they can [...]

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 [...]

Create a Wildlife Tree from Your Christmas Tree

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 December 29th, 2017|

It's over.   Most people in the country are doing one of four things right now. ① Breathing a sigh of relief. ② Wondering where December went. ③ Feeling a bit nostalgic and determined to keep the spirit of the season going. ④ Grinning at the fact that they don't have a mess to clean [...]

A Longwood Christmas: Not Just For Gardeners

By | 2018-02-20T20:40:43+00:00 December 21st, 2017|

Perhaps you’ve heard that approximately 2 ½ hours north of Central Maryland there is a world-class garden where fireworks and fountains explode every summer, horticultural splendor is commonplace and inspiration for the common gardener is calf-deep. A place called Longwood.   A magical feast in The Music Room   And perhaps you’ve ignored [...]

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 [...]