Winter 2019-20

At The Gate

This Fall, your Editor—hey, that’s me!—won a major award. GardenComm, the North American association of garden media professionals, elected me a Fellow. This is a lifetime achievement award, given to me for creating and publishing GREENPRINTS magazine for 30 years.  READ MORE


Typing on a laptop in a garden

Janet Barr: From Hamburg, PA: “My Eden resembles something between an overgrown jungle and a charming English garden.”

Cathy Mania: From Frankfort, KY: “I am a retired math professor. My husband and I wrote A Forest’s Life and Woodpecker in the Backyard.”  READ MORE



Each year at the end of December, when my self-esteem is low (having been eroded by parties full of people who are younger, thinner, richer, and more charming and more successful than I), and when faced with a house full of empty boxes, crushed ribbons, the carcass of a large turkey, and the needles—millions of tree needles!  READ MORE

My Winter Friends

My husband came in one afternoon, looked at Fern, and asked, “How long are you going to keep that plant?” You’re probably wondering why a poinsettia was named Fern. I don’t know why, she just liked that name. It didn’t matter to me what she called herself.  READ MORE

Ask a Nurseryman

Being the only fairly knowledgeable nurseryman in our small Oregon town does have its minuses. Take a social gathering I was invited to a while back. I ran into my family physician: “Hello, Gary, how are you?” “Just fine, Doc. How’s yourself?”  READ MORE


My father’s garden was beautifully kept, immaculately mowed and weeded—except for one corner that was totally fenced off so neither people or creatures (he had hens running free and several cats) could get in. It was, he told me, “for the fairies.”  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

Winter Miracle

There are two queens that reign supreme in my garden here in Houston. Fortunately, they bloom at different times so there are no jealous squabbles. The first great lady is my Texas Mountain Laurel, with her luxuriant clusters of purple, wisteria-like blossoms and a fragrance that lingers, heavy and sweet in the air, especially after rain.  READ MORE

My Soon-To-Be Labyrinth Garden

When I was young, my family lived on a farm at the edge of a very tiny country town. I didn’t have a lot of other kids nearby to play with. One of the things that provided me entertainment was the huge stash of garden and seed catalogs that came in the mail every Winter.  READ MORE

Let Us Grow Lettuce

A quarter of a century ago, a wise-looking, older fellow leaned over my back fence as I considered what to plant in my newly made raised beds. Without introducing himself, he said, “Don’t bother planting lettuce.  READ MORE

Living With the Wind

Here where we live, on the Vermont side of northern Lake Champlain, we get a lot of wind. In the Summer, it whips the lake into whitecaps, rips the laundry off the line, and knocks the lawn furniture over.  READ MORE

Safe Space

My mother is a gardener, my grandmother was a gardener, my great-grandmother was a gardener. Not me. As a small child, I helped my grandmother weed and water the plants. I can remember seeing her grab a rogue chicken that was shredding one of her prize ferns and quickly break its neck.  READ MORE

Emily’s Garden

A pot of chives—that’s how it all started. I was well into the fourth year of homeschooling our five children here in New Hampshire, often doing our lessons outside sitting in the grass, hiking in the woods, or digging in the ground. We were a very hands-on family of learners.  READ MORE

Naked Ladies

There was a big commotion next door the other evening. That struck me as odd. Just minutes before, I’d had a pleasant enough conversation with my new neighbor in the checkout line at the grocery store. I’d met her and her husband a few days earlier when I went over with a fresh hummingbird cake.  READ MORE

The Horticulture Bookshelf

One thing many horticulture enthusiasts love as much as the physical act of gardening is reading books about gardening. I’ve been involved with a variety of Friends of the Library groups since 1982. By my calculations, I’ve sorted, priced, and boxed over 42,000 horticulture books and magazines.  READ MORE

My Expensive Hill Farming Habit

In Vermont the words “hill farm” mean different things to different people. To visitors, especially those so besotted with the rolling green mountains that they start perusing the real estate ads, “hill farm” sounds like the loveliest two words in the world, connoting a remote sanctuary cradled on a green slope, with views of mountains and away from the busy world of commerce.  READ MORE

The Gardener’s January

There is something peculiar about the weather; it is never quite right. Weather always shoots over the mark on one side or the other. The temperature never reaches the hundred years’ normal; it is either five degrees below or five degrees above.  READ MORE

Pat’s Acceptance Speech

Two minutes? I got two minutes? I can’t say all the radical, controversial stuff I want to say in two minutes. So you’ll have to go to to read all that. But, hey hey, I can say this: Thank you, Phyllis, for nominating me. Thank you, Betty, Bill, Bob, C. L., David, Jeff, Randy, Sally for writing letters of support. Most of all, thank everyone in GardenComm.  READ MORE

Lost and Found

Years and years ago, my sister and I attended an all-day gardening workshop. Newly married city girls who now lived in houses with big backyards, we jumped right in. My sister called me soon after with alarming news.  READ MORE


Plant Carrots

A Million Stars



Star Lily


My Mother’s Favorite Joke

I Want Them To See It

The Major Art of Life

Broken Trowel

Catnip Calamity

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