Outside Window Seats

I'd love to have a house that has just as many inside window seats as it does outside window seats. image by Amit Gosher via contemporist
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My Easy Strategy to Phase out a Struggling Lawn

My Easy Strategy to Phase out a Struggling Lawn
It's not my style to obsess about a perfect carpet of lawn but I do have standards for health that are just not being met by the hapless turf that tries to cover the dirt in front of my house. Do you struggle with an area of your lawn? Have you considered that maybe traditional grass isn't the best option for the area? My area suffers from overhanging pines, a combo of dry shade coupled with a few hours a day of blazing hot sun and moisture starved and highly acidic soil.  Despite years and countless efforts to establish a healthy (chem-free) lawn - I've decided to stand down on the grass and go in other directions. In the garden, I increasingly find myself taking ...
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A Visit to The Garden In the woods

A visit to the Garden in the Woods - columbine
Dear Friends, Would you like to take a tour of the New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden In The Woods with me? I visited last week when the trilliums and other spring blooming plants were approaching their peak.  As I arrived I was trying to remember the last time I has been and realized that I my memory of the place was distinctly tied to being pregnant with my son.  So I could easy place my last visit to 12 years ago. As with any garden, things evolve change significantly in 12 years.  Mostly I think I noticed how it has all come together a bit more. It is a wonderful place to gather plant inspiration for a woodland style garden or a garden that ...
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How to Plant a Tree So That it Doesn’t Die

How to Plant a Tree So That it Doesn't Die
Whose fitbit steps have multiplied in these last few weeks?  I absolutely love watching the fitness numbers tick up as I bustle around the garden, spring cleaning, pruning and installing some new plants. It's the epitome of the good type of multi-tasking.   I've got a few significant projects that I've taken on for this spring season and I am looking forward to sharing each of them with you and hopefully passing on a few tips that you might be able to use in your garden as well. The first two projects are out in the front of my house.   For years, I've used the planting bed adjacent to my front door as a holding area for new things that didn't yet have a ...
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Save the Bees! Bee Humor From a First-Time Beekeeper

Save the Bees! - A Bit of Bee Humor from a very funny Beekeeper (illustration by Abbey Lossing)
"Bees?" "Bees." "...BEES?" "Yes, bees." "You seriously want to get bees?" asks Chris, standing in our kitchen staring at me as if I’d just declared that I wanted to start a blue whale farm in our bathtub. My tangible enthusiasm for the idea deflected off his "Mighty Force Field of Logic" and bounced around the room, further energizing me, yet having no impact on my husband, its intended target. This should not have been a surprise to him. I’ve always been intrigued by bees. The social order they maintain and the work they are able to accomplish despite having brains the size of a sesame seed fascinated me. I wanted more. "You recognize the liability involved in that. And how much does it cost to ...
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Charlotte Mendelson is My New Favorite Garden Writer

Fifty ways to avoide redying your garden for sping - by charlotte Mendelson Illustration by Cari Vander Yacht
I have a relatively short list of garden writers that I actually really like to read. There is Michael Pollan, Amy Stewart, Tim Richardson and Alys Fowler. James Alexander Sinclair can always make me laugh and the odd book by Elizabeth Gilbert inspires me too. I am sure there are others that I am forgetting or who I have only read once and so, haven't established a habit - but I just discovered a new name to add to the short list. I stumbled upon Charlotte Mendelson's Fifty Ways to Avoid Readying Your Garden for Spring, yesterday and found immediate kinship.  Yesterday I was shamefully avoiding eye contact with the heaps of grass (last year's miscanthus') that were holding the emerging peonies and tulips hostage beneath its ...
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Found! Pretty Parasols for the Bohemian Garden

Sunbeam Jackie Vintage fabric garden Parasols
It is the first warm(ish) weekend of spring and there is no more snow predicted (whoot!). By Sunday evening I'm hoping to tuck into a lovely holiday dinner knowing that my body earned the extra calories of those au gratin potatoes - having cleaned up countless piles of spring garden debris. Every spring I seem to want to try styling my patio a little differently for the season ahead. Do other designers have this sort of style ADD? I hope (and suspect) so (right?).  Last year I wanted something clean and modern - where as this year I'm feeling more bohemian and contemplating how to loosen things up a bit. These garden parasols caught my eye - I'm surprisingly charmed by the chintz.  Don't ask me ...
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They Are Too Big! 4 Great Alternatives for Beloved Plants that Don’t Fit

Great alternatives for beloved plants that are just too big
How on earth did that small arborvitae I planted in front of the house get so huge? It happens all the time. Either a previous owner, or maybe it was you, planted something that was tiny when it was new, but over the years it has slowly turned into a hulking monster. It is really hard to imagine the size that a shrub or tree will eventually achieve even a few years, let alone when it is fully mature.  Plant companies and breeders know that this a common problem so the influx of dwarf (or latin 'nana') varieties are very common.  But if there is no dwarf, you may find you need to seek out other options.  Here are some smaller options for four of ...
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A Look at John Brookes’ Denmans Garden

Birds flying at John Brookes Denmans garden by Lenora ellie Enking by cc_
I thought I would share some images of a garden called Denmans which was the home of famed British garden designer John Brookes.  Brookes passed away a few days ago and it has me thinking not only about the way we live our lives - thoughts that always come to me when I hear about someone dying - but also about the special places that we leave behind. Any garden, left uncared for, will do exactly as it would if it were cared for.  It will evolve and change.  Of course the tended garden will yield to the will of the gardener (at least to some extent) where as the untended will grow and creep and generally become wild again. I'd adamantly argue anyone who ...
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The Books You Need to be a Successful Garden Maker

The books you need to be a successful garden maker
Years ago I wrote a post about the 8 books every garden creator should own.  I've revisited it a few times since and found little need to update what I said back then. Until now. I realize that while I still insist that you need at least one book about gardening in your region and you also must have at least one plant encyclopedia - there is another type of book you really ought to have.  It is a hybrid of these two types of books. A gardening book for your region will help you to understand the seasons and the culture of growing where you live.  It will also give you advice on how to care for plants that are typically favored by gardeners ...
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