PAGING THROUGH THE PASTContact Elisabeth Ginsburg Recently a friend who is a great gardener told me about the Garden State Heirloom Seed Society, and its website, According to its founders, the website is devoted, to “New Jersey heirloom fruits and vegetables, and their culinary, medicinal, and historical value, to food and history-lovers around the globe. The site is […]


  OAKESIDE CONNECTIONSContact Elisabeth Ginsburg   Over a decade ago, playwright John Guare created “Six Degrees of Separation”, a drama with comedic overtones. The title refers to the idea that any individual can be connected in some way to any other individual by no more than six connections or degrees. “Six Degrees of Separation” inspired a game that was popular […]


  HORTICULTURAL THERAPYContact Elisabeth Ginsburg Last year I called an avid gardener that I know to set up on interview for an article I was writing for a national publication. She agreed to do the interview, but asked that it not take place until after the upcoming weekend. “I have a friend who has cancer,” she said, “And I am […]


  MONARCHS OF THE SKYContact Elisabeth Ginsburg I have a dear friend who is a bona fide curmudgeon. He is convinced that most things are going downhill rapidly, and it doesn’t matter whether the things in question are garlic presses or the ethics of U.S. congressmen. He is upset by the fact that libraries have computerized their catalogs, and saddened […]


SHADY CHARACTERS             Lots of people, including gardeners, regard trees the same way they regard health food–good for you, but likely to produce undesirable side effects.  And the side effect that some people have the smallest tolerance for is shade.  Before the advent of air conditioning, shade was a desirable thing.  Tall trees kept people, animals and dwellings cool in […]


PERILLA             ‘Every year it seems as if some arbiter of taste and fashion anoints a member of the vast mint family as “mint of the moment.”  Several years ago it was thyme–not just ordinary thyme but lemon thyme, golden thyme, and wooly thyme, not to mention mother-of-thyme.  Big name gardeners like Martha Stewart cultivated as many varieties as they […]


SHOWHOUSE FLOWERS             If you ever thumb through the pages of a “shelter magazine” such as House Beautiful or House & Garden, you will see photographs that contain very few human beings and lots of flowers and plants.  This focus on greenery is not restricted to the one or two feature articles that such publications generally devote to gardening.  Growing […]


TROPICAL DREAMS             A slow spring is absolutely painful.  After waiting all winter for the warm soft breezes and pollen-induced sneezes that herald spring in this part of the world, it is awful to have to put up with cold rainy weather.  It seems to dampen the spirits without appreciably diminishing the pollen count.             Still, there are compensations.  The […]


GREEN UNDERPINNINGS             I always feel badly about removing an established plant.  I am not talking about uprooting something so that it can be moved to another place in the yard or even given away to a friend.  I am referring to the situation where a plant is not going to be salvaged unless someone picks it up off the […]

Twining and Vining

Twining and Vining             I started thinking about vines when I found a turn-of-the-last-century photograph of my house, and noticed that a vine used to climb up the pillar to the right of the front door.  The large front porch, so beloved of realtors, was, at the time, almost completely obscured by a curtain of vines.  They must have been […]