Autumn 2020

At The Gate

When I emailed my older brother, Rick, that I was thinking of commenting, gently and caringly, about these disturbing times in this issue’s “At The Gate,” he wrote back: Pat, I don’t think you should do that. The garden is a retreat, a sanctuary as you say. Much better to talk about that.   READ MORE


Typing on a laptop in a garden

Carolyn L. Curtis: Carolyn loves CA native plants and has written for a range of publications.

Jennifer Bennett: “My flowers thrive, but my vegetables flounder,” says this FL farmer’s daughter.   READ MORE


A Garden Engagement

When I moved in with Don, my One True Soulmate, in the mid-1990s, we both wanted to relandscape his normal-sized lot in suburban Palo Alto, California. We decided to tear out the ivy, periwinkle, and grass, so we could stick in the plants we wanted.  READ MORE

Feathers and Fuss

One evening after supper, I grabbed an empty quart jar, slipped on my flip-flops, and drove down to my sister’s house to harvest some coreopsis seeds. Her car was not in the driveway, and the porch light told me they would be away until after dark.  READ MORE

Waiting for Zinnias

It’s early October and my zinnias are ugly. Their stems have grown brown and brittle. Their curled-up leaves are mottled and mildewed. But I can’t say good-bye to the zinnias just yet.   READ MORE

Composting During Coronavirus

Back when my oldest, Zach, now 11, was just a toddler, I decided I wanted to compost. At the time, we were living in Naperville, Illinois. Every weekend Zach and I went to the farmer’s market in nearby Wheaton for our fruits and vegetables (and a few amazing baked goods) ...  READ MORE

Crabby About Apples

Every Fall in my part of Winnipeg, Manitoba, people peddle—by which I mean, try to give away—surplus crabapples. Judging by the zeal with which the bulging bags are foisted upon the unsuspecting, you would think they are zucchini that grow on trees!  READ MORE

The Romance of the Rose

I am an unabashed romantic, heart and soul. I find romance in certain locations—England, Italy, and France come to mind—in historical legends, and especially in gardens. And there is one group of flowers that embodies everything a romantic flower should ...  READ MORE

Secret Sunflowers

My cell phone buzzed. It was the Realtor again. What will it be this time? Good news or bad? “Hi, Betty,” I answered, bracing myself for news of another fallen contract. “We have a closing date. Start packing!” said Betty. She knew how badly I needed to sell.  READ MORE

My Precious Purple Hull Peas

Last Fall my sister and I decided to travel to South Carolina to visit her son and his family. I drove from western Arkansas to her home near Springfield, Missouri, and we headed out.  READ MORE

Susan’s Garden Misadventures

Earlier this week, my husband, Kim, showed up outside carrying our new pole pruner. A while back, he had promised to help me cut back some overgrown branches of a pine tree that was shading part of my garden. Hooray!  READ MORE


She has been nearly dead for a while now. I am surprised that she has lived this long. But since we are friends and I can’t take any more grief these days, it’s time I do something about it.  READ MORE

The Changing of the Guard

Late every Summer, the grasshoppers appear in the horseradish. Temperatures start dropping fast here in upstate New York after these guys show up: anything that won’t stand up to a frost needs to be gathered up.  READ MORE

Gardening on Wheels

The first time I got interested in growing something I was 7 or 8. I saw my mom break a leaf off her philodendron and put it in water to start a new plant. I watched it diligently every day—and when it took root, I was fascinated!  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

I Always Have Tomorrow

I am a goof. Being 73 may have something to do with it, but un-fortunately, I think I’ve been rather unorganized most of my life. Take the other day. I was simply heading towards the green-house to transplant a few penstemon seedlings I had started a couple of months ago when I noticed an empty space on a tree limb—and remembered its bird house.  READ MORE

Good Chemistry

According to Kermit the Frog, it’s not easy being green. His sad point was that—being green—you blend, wallflower-like, into the background and everybody passes you by. Green means ignored, neglected, and invisible.  READ MORE

A Beautiful Haven

Rich lemony-yellow mums were my mother’s favorite. In this first Autumn after her death, when I see them, I crave her presence. I hunger for the soft warmth of her body, her gentle hand in mine. I want her soothing voice and smile.  READ MORE



Bittersweet October


Indian Summer



I LOVE My Garden

Broken Trowel

How I Committed Hostacide

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