Bad Timing

Timing is everything in the garden. I’ve known this for a very long time, but it was recently brought to my attention again in a particularly visible way. So, short story: For years I have had a wonderful grape vine … Continue reading

Mulching Made Eas(ier)

Here’s a dirty little secret your landscaper would prefer you not to know: your annual application of shredded pine mulch is one of their highest mark-up activities of the entire growing year. Why? Because the process is highly labor intensive; … Continue reading

Biennial Pleasures

There’s a whole group of wonderful plants that have fallen from favor in American gardens — biennials. The reason why is not hard to fathom, because there is so much confusion and misinformation out there about how to grow biennials … Continue reading

Care About the Environment? Get a Few Chickens.

I’ve had chickens on and off now for over twenty years (the off periods were the one or two times the fox got into the hen house) and I’m here to say that if you care about any of the … Continue reading

Cleaning Organically Grown Apples

If you grow organic or low-spray apples, especially heirlooms, and especially anywhere east of the Rockies, chances are you are going to experience two diseases, sooty blotch and fly speck, which can make your apples pretty unsightly. Here’s a really … Continue reading

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans #4: Fabulous Foliage

Number four in a continuing series. Flower, flowers, flowers. “Does it flower?” I am always asked. And while flowers most certainly are important (though for me, they must have fragrance, but that’s a column for another day) what generally gives … Continue reading

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans #3: The Power of the Vignette

The third article in a continuing series… Little is big. That’s it. That’s the lesson. You can stop reading now. But seriously: that is essentially the lesson. As gardeners we tend to think in broad strokes, and that’s fine, generally. … Continue reading

Dethroning the Heirloom Tomato

I was putting together my seed order this morning after suffering another disastrous year with late blight in which the majority of my tomatoes, mostly heirlooms, were dead by early August along with most of the harvest, and I came … Continue reading

The Original Victory Garden

As host of the Victory Garden on PBS from 2002-2007, I started to collect WWII Victory Garden memorabilia — posters, brochures, signs, that sort of thing. Then, a few weeks ago I came across this 1942 film on the FDR … Continue reading

Hydrangeas

Plant enthusiasts have a tendency to use language rather floridly, if you’ll pardon the pun, when they describe their favorite plants. But hydrangeas are one of those species were the word “remarkable” is truly no exaggeration. How many plant families … Continue reading