Winter 2020-21

At The Gate

Last issue, I wrote an opening editorial that gently and caringly commented on these agitated times. Just before deadline I sent it to my brother, Rick (above, with his wife, Terri, in their beautiful South Hampton, NY, garden). He wrote such an impassioned reply about keeping politics completely out of the garden that I shared his words with you instead.  READ MORE


Typing on a laptop in a garden

Susan Barber: CA’s Susan is a now-retired microbiologist who loves to garden. Her hysterical garden misadventure tale appeared last issue.

Marianne Binetti: WA’s Marianne writes a gardening column that runs in over a dozen newspapers, has written ten garden books, gives gardening lectures, leads gardening tours, and—yes—gardens!  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

Woolly Worm

My husband, Charles, used to do the mowing, until the very end of his life when, for a while, I did it. I was afraid of our large machine, though my children always said, “You can do it, Mom“—so I did.  READ MORE

Caterpillar Babies

Ten miles north of Bangor, Maine, 5:08 a.m. Cup in hand, I step forth into a crisp Summer dawn, gently waking to this slightly misty Saturday morning. I’m completely unaware of the assault that’s about to commence.  READ MORE

To Garden or Not?

It is mid-February here in Oregon. The racks of seeds have begun to sprout at the the feed store, the earth is beginning to warm, and songbirds are beginning to return from their Winter vacation spots.  READ MORE

Phoenix-Rising Fungus Gnats

Unannounced, the condominium association decided to paint the place—much obliged, but that meant my patio plants had to be put inside. As I watered, the soil did crawl with sudden infestation. I read in a book that overwatering will lead to fungus gnat copulation. What I had forgotten to water outside once inside got overt attention.  READ MORE

A Gift of Violets

In the photo, a little boy barely one year old is staring out a window at his first snowfall. The brilliant shine from the white outside highlights his red-blond hair, painting the illusion of a halo on the tiny angel. A woman bends over him. Her hair is gray, and her profile is one I know well: my mother.  READ MORE

Deer Gardens

Don Quixote was just fine until he began reading books. I think gardening books were what got me. At night I’d pore over lush photographs of gardens from New England and Germany and France. I wanted them all. It was an innocent diversion while we were renting.  READ MORE

Persnickety Pineapples

Some years back I was given a book about how to grow windowsill plants from kitchen scraps. Practically everything that you’re preparing to toss into the compost bin, says my book, can—with a little creativity and care—be turned into brand-new plants ...  READ MORE

Diamonds or Compost

My husband, Don, was Christmas shopping one rainy December day when he bumped into a friend who was on his way to the jewelry store to buy his wife a diamond necklace. He asked Don, “What are you buying your wife?”  READ MORE

Confounding Columbines

I am a seed starter. Give me a packet of good seed, and I can always get them to pop within a few days. Most packets say, “Plant 2-3 seeds in each cell” (or an inch apart in the garden row), since they expect that fewer than half will germinate. Every seed grows every time for me.  READ MORE

The Little School Garden That Didn’t

I really don’t think I should be the person teaching young children to garden.” These were the words I said when I was asked to serve as the Garden Leader at the Georgia elementary school where I teach. In past years, a skilled Master Gardener had told the students exactly when and how to tend the lovely vegetation that graced the children’s raised beds.  READ MORE

Live Forevers

My experiences with gardening in my youth were scant, to say the least. My mother had a bed of hostas outside my childhood home. Once when I was 17, my parents went on a vacation to Arizona. They left me home to keep doing my Summer job as a lifeguard.  READ MORE

Brick by Brick

When this stay-at-home order started, I thought it might be fun to rebrick one of our garden retaining walls. Yes, I know. I am curious about my sanity, too.  READ MORE


An Old Acquaintance

October Breezy


A Gardener’s Christmas Poem



Keep a Garden Journal

10 Things I Learned from Gardening

Broken Trowel

“If a Plant is Growing Well…”

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