Yorkshire Garden Trip: Newby Hall

One of my favorite gardens we visited on our Yorkshire Garden Trip was Newby Hall. Newby Hall was built for William Weddell, but the first home wasn’t like the stately one now standing. The main part of the current house was designed by Sir Christopher Wren for Sir Edward Blackett. Sir Blackett must have had some pull to…

Why do gardens matter?

In this age of hyper-technology and a corresponding increase in nature blindness, why do gardens matter? This is the question I’ve pondered all spring as I work in my own garden. The garden seems to be the only thing that soothes my soul this spring, and yet, in my career, I, like many of you,…

Garden work

Garden work Garden work is blessed work, but it’s still work. That’s why garden tasks are called chores. Last Sunday, in Oklahoma, we had a high of 68°F, so I worked my tail feathers off in the two beds facing the street. It was dirty, dusty and glorious. Why dusty? Oklahoma is in the midst…

A trip to High Line Park

A visit to the New York City and the High Line. We just returned from New York City. Visiting the Big Apple during the Christmas season was on our bucket list, and this year we made it happen. Bill and I went to Manhattan in February 2008 with Bill’s youngest sister, Maria, and her husband,…

First freeze

Last weekend, the garden woke to 29° F. It was quite a shock to the garden, but the gardener was secretly relieved at the first freeze. Between two motorcycle trips, a train trip, moving my mother to her new home in an independent living facility, and selling her house–insert sigh–I am exhausted in the purest sense of the word.

Of love and late-summer flowers

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about love and late-summer flowers. I’m not sure what brought on these musings, but I think it may have something to do with turning the big double nickel last week. I’m a late-summer flower myself. I’m also helping my mother sell her home and move into independent living, letting…

Rain = sweet garden relief

As I woke this morning, I heard the unmistakable sound of raindrops hitting the skylight above my bed. I sat up and glanced outside. It was still dark. I couldn’t see, but I still breathed a sigh of sweet relief. Rain was falling on Oklahoma’s dry and dusty plains. The prognosticators predicted rain all week,…

No garden variety apologies needed

While shopping at box stores and garden nurseries, I often see old friends and meet new ones, usually over plants. In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to meet people. At parties, when new friends learn I’m a garden writer, they seem to feel the need to apologize for their garden or lack of plant-growing…

Problem plants

In my garden, there are four or five real problem plants. I have other interlopers, but the following natives and non-natives are really bad actors in my leaf-mold enriched soil. Note: most natives can be kept in check if you don’t water much and have lean, sandy soil. My garden’s natural soil is red sand…