Summer 2021

At The Gate

Well, I’m embarrassed. In the 31 years (125 issues), I’ve written this column, I’ve thanked our artists…our writers…our advertisers…and, you, our readers—over and over, in fact. But I’ve never publicly thanked the person who, more than any other, helps me make this magazine possible.  READ MORE


Typing on a laptop in a garden

Ed Witman: From Toms River, NJ: “I am a retired professor of philosophy and a non-gardening husband.”

Gaylord Brewer: A professor at Middle Tennessee State, Gaylord has two poetry collections, The Feral Condition and Worship the PigREAD MORE


The Bunnies of August

One morning in early August, I noticed what looked like a long divot in the turf of our side yard. Since the lawn-mowing crew in our New Jersey development hadn’t been at work for several days, this new gouge seemed odd.  READ MORE

Last Blooms

Picking daylilies doesn’t elicit the guilt typical of cutting flowers. Maybe all that deadheading hardens one. Also, consider the sublime and the tragic: In addition to brief lives, the blooms are fragile, endearing them further to the poetic temperament.  READ MORE

The Cowbird Way

Blessed with the luck and luxury of a backyard, Pierrette and I found ourselves spending quite a bit of time outside last summer. Pierrette gardened with her usual energy, and I pitched in when I had to—or wandered away to check out the wildflowers.  READ MORE

The Last Garden in England

One-third historical fiction, one-third romance, and two-thirds stories of women gardeners, The Last Garden in England is such a delightful read that the book truly adds up to more than a whole.  READ MORE

Fruit of the Womb

When I think of my father, I picture him tending to his plants. Or, at least, hands on his lower back, gazing down at them. One of my most cherished childhood memories is of his evening trek out to the garden—in his underwear. Yep. Just his underwear.  READ MORE

The Stealthy Gardener

My sister’s immediate reaction to the news that her cancer has advanced yet again is to march three doors down to her neighbor’s yard to yank out the thistle that annoyed her all Spring.  READ MORE

Buried by Cucumbers

Almost 40 years ago, I went to school for horticulture, a two-year, hands-on program at the University of New Hampshire. During the Summer between those two years, we had to get a job in our chosen specialty.  READ MORE

Faceoff at the Fish Pond

One Summer weekend, I installed a new pond in our front garden. I dug the hole, installed a liner, filled it with water, and stocked it with fish and water lilies.  READ MORE

Buried Treasure

Is anybody—other than me, that is—a fan of the BBC series “Dectorists”? The show centers around the adventures of Lance and Andy (Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook) of Britain’s (wholly imaginary) Danebury Metal Detecting Club.   READ MORE

Five Little Pumpkins

The plan for our family stay-at-home garden last Summer started with two raised beds. Little plastic prefab things, 4 feet by 4 feet, cheerfully plopped on a sunny spot behind our house.  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:
“Who that has reason, and his smell,
Would not among roses and jasmin dwell,
Rather than all his spirits choak
With exhalations of dirt and smoak?”  READ MORE

Free Plants

When I started growing plants for resale about 40 years ago, in a place called Jamul close to the Mexican border in San Diego County, I had to start small.  READ MORE


Our Garden Gate

Never pick a quarrel


Picking Limas


The Rose That Rose

Our Little Tomato Snitch

Broken Trowel

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did

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