Purple Passion in a Garden

My relationship with the color purple has gone up and down over the years. When I was ten I had a dark purple velvet party dress with a white lace collar. It was my favorite, and I would have worn it every day if my mother had allowed it. She didn’t, and eventually, Nature took its course and I outgrew […]

Garden Centers

I love to visit garden centers, and I make it a regular habit throughout the growing season. I don’t always buy, but I live in the hope that I will discover a new and different plant, or find just the right thing to fill a hole in my border, or uncover a source of inspiration in the displays. Recently though, […]

Strawberry Jar

For some reason, I have long been one of those sorry individuals who has never succeeded in buying a strawberry jar. I was going to get one last year, but I got distracted and didn’t get around to it until the time to do so was long past. I take some comfort in the fact that my problem is not […]

Feeling guilty about your garden

The suburbs are full of secrets, and my neighbor had one. It was not the stuff of soap operas or PBS documentaries or Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reports, but it was still clandestine in a small way. Sometimes, as she passed my house on her way home from work, she stopped to smell my roses. I don’t blame her, and when […]

Gardens in Bloom

One of the great things about walking for exercise is that it allows you to see marvelous things—architectural details on buildings, variations in paving and curbing materials, and, of course, gardens. Experience and the loud honking of other peoples’ horns has taught me that when you are at the wheel of a car, you risk accidents when you slow down […]

Snake’s Head Lily

If the guinea hen flower (Fritillaria meleagris) were a person, it would need therapy. For centuries it has been called all kinds of pejorative names—snake’s head lily, sullen lady, and even leper’s bell. Eminent garden writer Vita Sackville-West did not help matters when she referred to it as “a sinister little flower.” On top of that, it is small and […]

Crazy for Catalpas

     I have a weakness for plants with heart-shaped leaves. I love common violets—the low-growing kind that fastidious lawn fanatics hate to see in the grass. In the spring I glory in the heart-shaped leaves and heart-stopping fragrance of lilac bushes. The backyard “climbing tree” of my childhood was an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), that leafed out every year into […]

Gardens Among Us

I know lots of people who live in northern New Jersey who have never been to see the Statue of Liberty. I also know people who live in western New York State who have never visited Niagara Falls. Chances are very good that some Philadelphia natives have never seen the Liberty Bell, as well. Sometimes it is hard to appreciate […]

Gardening Gifts for the Gardener

Every year at this time, gardeners and non-gardeners alike wonder what they should buy for the gardeners in their lives. If you are wealthy enough, this is very easy. Perhaps your favorite gardener can really use a backhoe, complete with a charming and handsome operator who will be on call at all times. If a backhoe seems too vulgar, try […]

Just Peachy

Now that the holidays are over, there are garden-related things that I should be doing. I could, for example, go out to the unheated garage and sharpen the blades of my lawnmower. Or, since I like to stay warm, I could simply go down into the cellar and clean out my plant room so that everything will be in order […]