Winter 2021-22

At The Gate

Trees are fountains. This is not a metaphor. It’s true. A tree is a fountain of water in wood. It flows only one way—up. It moves so slowly we don’t notice, but (in season) it does move: a large deciduous tree can send 250-500 gallons of water into the sky in a single day.  READ MORE


Typing on a laptop in a garden

Amanda Spino: “I am a public librarian and freelance writer in Annapolis, MD and have a muddybrown (not green) thumb.”

Cathy Clary: “I currently design gardens and landscapes around Charlottesville, VA. I also teach about design—and trees!”



Tiny Gardeners

With an armful of potting soil, packaged seeds, and last month’s newspapers, I prepare for a day of work. No, I’m not a professional gardener or a horticulturalist. I am a public librarian and I have a roomful of eager children waiting for me. The theme of today’s program, as you probably guessed, is gardening.  READ MORE

Picking Flowers

I have always been captivated by picking flowers. When I was a little girl, I picked the sweet blue henbit, the Winter weed that shimmers azure in early Spring as it takes over acidic lawn and flowerbeds.  READ MORE

An Unexpected Bonus

I tend to buy my organic fruit and vegetables from Whole Foods, and a couple of years ago I bought some beautiful organic grapefruit there. A few days later, I cut one of them in half, looking forward to a delicious breakfast of pink grapefruit, whole wheat toast, and a cup of Earl Grey tea.  READ MORE

Learning to Love Latin

Having arrived in the world of horticulture by a somewhat circuitous route, I’m still thrilled, three years later, to have swapped stifling bureaucracy for the great outdoors—well, for Ardagh Eco-Gardens, a 2.5-acre plot in the Irish Midlands.  READ MORE

The Tulip Thief

Back in the mid- to-late-1990s, I worked at The Horticultural Society of New York as the plant hotline manager, a type of on-call plant doctor who would answer questions for the public a few hours a week. I answered a lot of questions about house plants—and sometimes just listened as distraught apartment dwellers described insects they were convinced were eating their carpets.  READ MORE

Sharing with Sheldon

I will never forget the day that I came home from work to find my husband Kim puttering around with a new glass terrarium. A terrarium? Kim? What was going on? As I got closer, I saw a bumpy, olive-colored, egg-sized lump half buried in sawdust. It stirred, and a tiny head emerged.  READ MORE

Gardening Keeps Me Young

As diehard football fans may re-member, a while back the Denver Broncos had a quarterback by the name of Tim Tebow. There was some controversy at the time over some of his opinions and whether he had “intangibles” (like a throwing arm). I didn’t follow it closely, but he seemed like a nice young man.  READ MORE


I never wanted to learn to prune. I thought of myself as a grower, not a pruner. In fact, I knew exactly what kind of gardener I was: a plantswoman.   READ MORE

A Packet of Seeds

What does a packet of seeds mean to you? For me, they first meant going door-to-door in my neighborhood, selling seeds as a fundraiser for my third-grade class. I don’t remember what we sold, how much the seeds cost, or what the money was for.  READ MORE

How to Farm With Children

Pregnancy—Keep working outside every day. When feeling nauseated in the Spring, slowly pick and munch on raw kale buds while working and hope it’s nutrition your body needs. When it gets hot in the Summer, work in the morning, but seek shade in the afternoons.  READ MORE

Gambling Gardening with Tulips

By the time you read this I may have become the happy recipient of $15,000 per week—for life. By now my family and friends will have received generous gifts (say “Thank you,” Pat).  READ MORE

My Flower Show Jollies

The year was 1990. The occasion was the very first meeting with my staff after I became Editor-in-Chief of Organic Gardening magazine. I asked what they thought of the previous year’s Philadelphia Flower Show, themed, “Kaleidoscope: The Wonderful World of Color.” (Deep breath for a flashback; that was the name of the Walt Disney show back when color TV was a big deal).  READ MORE

Feet, Fathoms, and Flamingos

How much snow? If there’s any measure most prone to exaggeration, inaccuracy, and anecdote, it may be depth of snow—possibly only topped by size of fish, which as anyone who is (or knows) a fisherman is aware, can reach gigantic proportions, especially if said fish got away before being hauled into a boat within reach of a tape measure.  READ MORE

Troubled Wayfarer

Many intrepid souls found their way over the mountain to the Herb of Grace, the small nursery, shop, gardens, and tea room I owned in the middle of Nowhere, North Carolina—some of them in want of a job. And since this horticultural enterprise owned me for an innumerable number of hours over a goodly number of years, I met each prospective employee with hopeful anticipation. A treasured few proved truly unforgettable.  READ MORE

Thawing and Dripping

A city girl, I married a country boy who hunted, fished, and planted big gardens. One Friday I arrived home from work to find that our freezer had died. We were determined to save what we could.   READ MORE


Most of my gardener friends work in their flowerbeds in the morning. But until I recently retired, my work schedule dictated that gardening was an evening pursuit. I would head out back after dinner to bustle among the bushes until it was too dark to spot another weed.  READ MORE


These winter nights against my window

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet


Uncommon Names


Seeds of a Career

Broken Trowel

Thawing and Dripping

Letters to GreenPrints

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