Winter 2016-17

At The Gate

Gifts of Art It won’t be long until the day you and yours will be exchanging presents. I hope every gift is shared and enjoyed with love. But, as far as I’m concerned, you’re a little late: I’ve been open-ing gifts for weeks! From artists, no less—the wonderful illustrators whose talents grace this issue. There…  READ MORE

Contributors

Typing on a laptop in a garden
Doris Lange: From Cherry (yes!) Valley, NY: “I think I planted my first garden (with Mom’s help) 80 years ago. I’ve gardened ever since.” Ryan Storm: Ryan loves to keep Zone 11a tropicals thriving outdoors in his 9b CA home. He’s now studying viticulture at CSU Fresno. Abra Montgomery: Huntington Beach, CA’s Abra loves to…  READ MORE

Stories

My Sprawling Cherry Tomato Plants

It’s winter and there is a sprawling cherry tomato plant in front of my picture window. There is a history to the sprawling cherry tomato plant in front of my picture window. (There is, of course, a history to everything.)  READ MORE

My Garden Origin Story

When I was six years old, I wanted a tortoise. I really, really wanted a tortoise. My whole life revolved around getting a tortoise. My parents, thinking that this was a childhood whim (“Next week he’ll want parakeets”), dismissed my pleas.  READ MORE

The Old Rose

Outside my Dad’s bedroom window in our little house in Paramount, California, grew an old rosebush that covered most of the back wall and the two windows looking out over the yard.  READ MORE

Wish Books

If there’s anything more American than apple pie, it’s probably the Sears Roebuck catalog. The Sears catalog—or at least its primal predecessor—first appeared in 1888, when Richard Sears (ex-railroad employee) started a mail-order business, selling watches.  READ MORE

Great Garden Quotes

Yep, that’s what Pat Stone says about it. (Hey, that’s me! Let’s switch to writing in the first person, shall we—uh, I?) How can I make the claim above? First, because Great Garden Quotes (subtitled “A Coloring Book With Wit, Wisdom, & Heart”) is about gardening—the most beautiful, fun, and inspiring outdoor activity of all (as every gardener knows).  READ MORE

King Roscoe, His Royal Hineyness

On Thanksgiving weekend, 2005, I brought home a tiny little Shizhtu peekapoo puppy that we named Roscoe. I thought he might be a good companion for my husband, someone to keep him company while I was gardening. He was a sweet little complacent puppy—until the day I took him for a walk in the park.  READ MORE

Happy Ending

Gardeners, probably from prehistory, have looked for happy endings—but we have often been disappointed. Amongst recorded failures is Petrarch, who in the 14th century made several gardens, carefully consulting the moon and stars before planting.  READ MORE

Miracle in Pink

Many of us pray for miracles. I know I do. However, there is a lot to be said for continual blessings! Miracles would be like supernatural interventions that occur in times of very special needs. Blessings, on the other hand, can be continuous.  READ MORE

Chester the Toad

Back in February, I was moving some potted plants from my Chesterfield, Virginia, home to the Green Bay (Virginia) weekend farm that my son and I own. When we arrived Friday night, I set the plants (begonias, aloes, and various others) on the kitchen table with its northwest window.  READ MORE

I’m a Peasant

In increments of two or three minutes at bedtime each night, I’ve been reading A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman’s bestselling history of 14th century Europe. What better respite from the pressures of modern life, I thought, than to be carried back into the remote past and marvel at such a different place and time?  READ MORE

Turning Certainties

Outside, in the midst of a Massachusetts January, the temperature huddles around twenty degrees. A sprinkling of snow softens the driveway and the rooftops. Inside, I huddle under an afghan on the couch, next to the cat. A cup of black coffee warms my insides.  READ MORE

Tomato Heartburn

It’s hard to imagine the words ‘casual’ and ‘leukemia’ together, but the pastor of my local church was extremely casual early this Spring when he casually told me in a very casual tone of voice that his youngest daughter had leukemia...  READ MORE

The Prison Garden

In December, 1995, Donald Hutson and I committed two robberies in inner-city St. Louis. Sixteen years old, I was charged with 17 counts and sentenced to 240 years in prison. The rest of my life.  READ MORE

Snail Wars

The snails almost got me, and they were trying, that was for sure. It was me against wave after wave of those ravenous monopods—and all I was doing was planting green beans in my first garden. Okay, maybe I didn’t know much about gardening, but the seed packages said growing beans was easy. There was…  READ MORE

The Most Unforgettable Christmas Tree

It was Christmas Eve, 1947, but there was no Christmas tree in our apartment or in any of the other five apartments in our building. Our city, Dresden, had been firebombed and was now under Russian control. There were three pine trees left in what used to be a park, but anyone found cutting one…  READ MORE

Aim for Beauty

Kathryn Hall’s Plant Whatever Brings You Joy is a collection of 52 tender stories and essays, each titled with a life lesson Kathryn has learned from gardening. Here’s one the book shares…about creating beauty. fter three years of traveling and living in Europe, my daughter and I returned home to the States, and I began…  READ MORE

After the Spring

I have never understood why we keep a garden and why, 35 years ago when I bought my first house in the country, I started digging up a patch for vegetables before doing anything else.  READ MORE

Buds

There Might Be A Place

The Garden Needs You

Pernicious Machineries

Poems

Spring in Winter

Cuttings

The Lucky One

Perennial Friend

Nocturnal Hunt

Some Too-Exciting Evening

Broken Trowel

The Great Peony Massacre

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