Healing Gardens

Collection Notes

Restore your sense of joy with the endearing stories in the Healing Gardens Collection.

What is a collection of flowers if not a place of healing? Gardens have grown along with us for centuries. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are legendary and the Canglang Pavilion in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China has been lovingly tended for over 1,000 years. Gardens can, of course, also be quite practical. READ MORE

Bill Dugan


The Secret Garden

For those gardeners who haven’t read it, this is the story of ten-year-old Mary Lennox, possibly the world’s most disagreeable orphan. Mary, who lost her parents in a cholera epidemic in India, is shipped back to England to Misselthwaite Manor, a vast gloomy mansion on the Yorkshire moors…  READ MORE

Scottish Lot

The old fast food-joint was a great place until it burned down. At first, the gossip in the Scottish town was about how it happened. Was it arson or just old electrical wiring? Then folks wondered if it would start up again.  READ MORE

Chronic Pain & Garden Therapy

My love of gardening is a major therapy in my life. I have had many injuries from fractious horses and one automobile accident that rendered me permanently disabled at age 33.  READ MORE

A Bag of Sugar

When you taste homemade lemon curd for the first time, it changes you the same way that homegrown tomatoes change you, rendering you incapable of ever again confusing tomatoes with those rubber balls in the produce section.  READ MORE


My first distinct memory in a garden was about death—and I’d almost forgotten it. Yesterday I was driving through an unfamiliar neighborhood, searching for a garage sale I’d read about, and my eyes spotted a small wooden cross, painted white, beneath a tree.  READ MORE

Eight Volunteer Pumpkins

The day my husband and I moved to our new home in Maryland, I fell off the moving truck and received a severe head injury, not the welcome to the neighborhood I expected. It was Spring—I had plans!  READ MORE

Kingwood Connections

If you look in my parents’ photo albums, you’ll see pictures of a little redheaded girl toddling around Kingwood Center and burying her nose in every flower she sees. Kingwood is a 47-acre estate turned public garden, so that’s a lot of flowers.  READ MORE

My Mother’s Seed

It was insidious really, the seeds of flower love planted in my heart and soul when I was young and oblivious. My mother did it, and I think she did it on purpose.  READ MORE

A Garden Can Heal

There is probably no time when the healing power of a garden is more welcome and soothing than after the death of a loved one. Again and again, people have told me heartrending tales about the crucial role gardening played in their recovery of equilibrium after the passing of someone special. “My husband died suddenly…  READ MORE

Love in the Time of Corona

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, I was stunned. Everything felt surreal. Furloughed from my job teaching in a biology lab, I could no longer experience the look in trainees’ eyes when they finally understood a complex concept, or the satisfaction when I helped them overcome a problem.  READ MORE


The year I turned 12, I met a girl in art class. Her name was Meagan, and she approached me at the pencil sharpener. She was a bit hyper, stood a little close, and I could barely understand what she was saying because she talked so fast.  READ MORE

Healing Gardens

Those of us who have a garden know that we are fortunate ourselves. As the 17th-century poet Abraham Cowley put it in 1657…  READ MORE

Troubled Wayfarer

Many intrepid souls found their way over the mountain to the Herb of Grace, the small nursery, shop, gardens, and tea room I owned in the middle of Nowhere, North Carolina—some of them in want of a job. And since this horticultural enterprise owned me for an innumerable number of hours over a goodly number of years, I met each prospective employee with hopeful anticipation. A treasured few proved truly unforgettable.  READ MORE

The Last Two

My favorite Spring garden ritual is starting my tomato seeds. In late March, I fill ten little pots with a mixture of peat and earth-scented compost. Then I press down the spongy stuff and poke a hole in the middle of each pot, loving the feel of the dark fluff, even the bits that stay under my fingernails.  READ MORE
veteran standing in front of a garden

A Veteran’s Garden

My uncle was with the 8th Air Force in World War II. When he got out, he got into growing gladiolas. My dad was a Marine in Korea. When he became a civilian, fruit trees were his thing. I was a Marine in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. When I came home, it took me years to realize what plants can do for you.  READ MORE
mother kisses her child in field of daisies

One Million Daisies

A million daisies have invaded my mother’s garden. They grow rampant among the phlox and delphinium, the lilies and the roses. She doesn’t want their scraggly disorder in her picture-perfect beds, but she cannot stand to kill anything, especially a flower.  READ MORE
older female gardener standing in flowers touching heart

Love and Daffodils Forever

They had just celebrated their 39th anniversary in April when Bill went for his annual checkup. Always in perfect health, he was unprepared for what the doctor found. Symptoms Bill had ignored as “old age” led to questions, palpations, more questions, and finally instructions for a battery of tests.  READ MORE
image of woman with light rays shining on face

Light Passes Through Me

“Weeding never ends, honey. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, one of the few things you can count on in this life.” Aunt Sadie’s words were a little hard to make out: She was on her knees with her rear end facing me, her face wedged between buddleias draped with blooms. Aunt Sadie was a whiz in the garden.  READ MORE

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