The Storied Ivy

That headlong ivy! Not a leaf will grow But thinking of a wreath……. Elizabeth Barrett Browning  Aurora Leigh, 1856 Looking for a task that was not too trying in yesterday’s 90º heat, I decided to trim the ivy that had … Continue reading

Elements of the Victorian Garden: Lawn, Shrubs and Trees

If you accept the Victorian metaphor of the landscape as a series of distinct outdoor rooms, with the hardscaping forming the “walls”, “floors”, and “doorways,” of these rooms, then it’s easy to visualize the next step in the building process– … Continue reading

Elements of the Victorian Garden: Walks and Drives

When well located, walks and drives convey the idea of habitable-ness, imparting an air of welcome and freedom to a home and grounds, and in no slight degree seem to promote the beauty of the place. The most important walks … Continue reading

A Boxwood Love Affair

For the first 18 years of my gardening career, I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For you non-Midwesterners, that’s Zone 5A territory, which in horticultural parlance translates into short, hot summers and long, cold winters. Very long, very cold winters. So … Continue reading

Spring into Fall with Native Perennials

Last summer I spent almost a month touring gardens in Ireland and England, and without a doubt, these were some of the most spectacular landscapes I have ever seen. Garden after garden passed before my eyes, each filled with rich … Continue reading

Bungalow Gardens

Large or small, [a garden] should look both orderly and rich. It should be well fenced from the outside world. It should by no means imitate either the willfulness or the wildness of nature, but it should look like a … Continue reading

Heirloom Heresy

I’m about to go way out on the proverbial limb, and say something that may shock a quite a few of you: many heirlooms plants are over-rated. Now this may seem strange from someone whose first book, The New Traditional … Continue reading