Category Archives: Most popular posts

Gardens on Canvas

“Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the results there.” So wrote Celia Thaxer in her delightful 1904 book … Continue reading

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Perfect Pollinators

Two months ago, while half the international press corps was on Royal Baby Watch, an equally fervent, if smaller, vigil was underway at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. This rival watch was not for the birth of a … Continue reading

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Metamorphosis Begins!

Ever since I found a black swallowtail caterpillar in my dill, I’ve been obsessed with the tiny creature and even given him a name–Pilly the Kid. Now Pilly’s moved on to the next phase of his mysterious life. Late last … Continue reading

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The Secret Life of a Caterpillar

Suddenly, inexplicably, I–a confirmed non-pet owner, who rolls her eyes at the endless stream of cat videos on the Internet–am now gaga over the little black-swallowtail caterpillar that’s taken up residence in my dill. Every morning, I come out and … Continue reading

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Beetles and Snails and Mites, Oh My!

My father was a saint–or slightly dotty, I’m not sure which. An Episcopal priest who was highly influenced by the Quakers, he was a gentle soul who, in his later years, would ask permission of flowers before picking them. If … Continue reading

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Ladybug, Ladybug

Maybe it was beginner’s luck. Last summer, almost every seedling I stuck into soil flourished with very little effort on my part. All I had to do was add water and stand back, while nature took its exuberant course. In … Continue reading

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Are These Pots Self-Watering? Sure–Just Add Water

I must admit that I was deeply skeptical when I first heard about self-watering containers. I mean, really, who are they trying to kid? Somebody has to put water in there, and that somebody is you. So how exactly are … Continue reading

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Arugula Gone Wild

In my opinion, salad greens should be deep green, not some pale imitation thereof. So on my first trip to the garden store this spring, I bought a large pot of dark emerald-green seedlings labelled “mesclun mix.” The pot contained … Continue reading

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Flowers of the Camino

For two weeks in May, I was lucky enough to hike along an ancient pilgrimage route in Spain known as the Camino de Santiago. It is a long story that I will tell properly in another place and time. But … Continue reading

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Taking a Hosing

Et tu, XHose? I was already feeling betrayed last week, after discovering that a number of nozzle manufacturers include lead, a potent neurotoxin, in the nozzles they make for garden hoses–as if we gardeners don’t care that we’re spraying potentially … Continue reading

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Winter Berries

The shortest day of the year has come and gone—and with it, the predictions of Mayan doom. The world still turns, the holidays still beckon. And in my garden, the euonymus bushes continue in their evergreen splendor, just as the … Continue reading

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The Pothole Gardener

Leave it to the Brits. Anything we can do, they can do quirkier. Take guerrilla gardening—the semi-legal practice of planting seeds and flowers in vacant lots that belong to somebody else. We have a guerrilla gardener in my New Jersey … Continue reading

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Pansies–Not Just for Spring Anymore

Move over, chrysanthemums! There’s a new fall flower in town—pansies—or so my neighbor Jane informed me a few weeks ago. I have always adored pansies with their cheery faces. When I was a child, we had an entire flower bed … Continue reading

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Scents and Sensibility

Every morning when I walk out into the container garden on my stoop, I am greeted by the sweet scents of lavender, dill, basil, and rosemary. But when I try to describe these fragrances, I soon realize that my vocabulary … Continue reading

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Show Me the Honey

This may sound preposterous, but in many ways, the perfect urban crop is honey—or so says Meme Thomas, founder of Baltimore Honey and the organization’s Queen Bee. We’ve all heard about colony collapse disorder. But if all bees were treated … Continue reading

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Guerrilla Gardening

A mystery gardener has been planting flowers in Hoboken. Where these blossoms come from, no one seems to know. On the warm June afternoon when I planted my first seedlings out front, a woman I’d never seen before asked me … Continue reading

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Linnaeus’s Flower Clock

I’ve always been fascinated by morning glories. I know that some people regard them as unruly, invasive weeds—the kudzu of ornamental flowers. But I adore the blankets of blossoms they produce as they cover a fence or hedgerow. And I … Continue reading

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