The Absentee Gardeners

Time for Weeding

As gardeners, we all know that weeding is an essential ingredient to maintaining a well-groomed garden. Groan all you want but if you’re going to have a garden you are going to have to weed. Several books published in the late 1990s advocated letting the weeds remain.


Stop Digging

“Your garden’s so pretty! How do you do that?” my neighbor gushed. She: stylishly dressed, walking her dog; me: wet and muddy squatting down with my hands in the soil. I was about to explain that I enjoy tending my garden and that, with a little effort…


Echinacea Worth Meeting

Let me introduce my latest fascination — Echinacea x hybrida ‘Red Ombre.’ I know what you’re thinking: What could possibly be special about an Echinacea? Readers of this column may recall that I like to meet new plants by first learning their botanical name, so let’s start with the genus Echinacea…





Responsible Gardening

A packet of seeds, meant to catch my eye, arrived in the mail. A seed company in a faraway state, trying to get my business, wants me to look at their catalog. Its strategy backfired. I’m not happy with the little gift; in fact, I’m rather huffy about it. The colorful packet featured a watercolor image of several different unidentifiable….








What on Earth Did I Order?

In the delirium of winter, I tend to go on an ordering spree of plants that will arrive the following April. It’s a good time to order because the nurseries haven’t yet run out of the hot new plants; the winter garden looks relatively bare; and there’s nothing much to do in January…




Beware of the Floozies

Sex is rampant in my garden, and I’m getting sick of it. This is the time of year that the hellebores wave around their promiscuity as the plants flaunt their swollen seedpods. Soon you begin to realize that there are probably more seeds on one hellebore than there are people in the Triangle. After a couple of years of hellebores taking up residence in the garden, you begin to fear that they will overtake the world.














The Maturing Garden

Generally, from a gardening standpoint, I enjoy the month of January. Typically, I peruse the garden catalogues that arrive this time of year, daydreaming about the possibilities my garden might produce. However, reading the garden catalogues recently has not given me a great deal of enjoyment for the simple reason that my garden, like me, is maturing.


A Garden Needs a Soul

It’s a new year, 2021, and it’s time to plan for the garden. Spring is almost here! I have written about this topic before but it bears repeating as I see gardeners twisting themselves in knots, trying to follow the rules of good landscaping: A garden needs to reflect the personality of its owner.