Guest Columns

Carrboro Music Festival

One of the first impressions I had of Carrboro was in 2005, when I made a trip down here to house hunt. In one of those wonderful accidents that can change a life, I turned a corner and walked right into the Carrboro Music Festival…

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The Reign of Pain

My neck’s a problem. Nothing terrible, but when I turned my head to back the car out of the driveway the other day, there was this crack, a shooting pain and I immediately lost any ability to speak…




Think Contrast, Think Texture

We gardeners sometimes think way too much in terms of flowers when, perhaps, we should instead concentrate more on the color green. After all, it’s the color green that permanently resides in our gardens. I have written before about the…


Welcome Back

Orange County is beginning to feel like its former self. Restaurants and bars are open, buzzing with students, visitors, and townies. The simplest things – a drink, a meal, a walk downtown – feel celebratory.



This Has Been Eating at Me

If you want to stay healthy and help ward off the downsides of aging, such as getting older, it’s clear you have to carefully watch what you eat and drink. Yes, that means…



Open Letter to: Mayor and Town Council

First, I wish to thank mayor and council for the time and energy they have spent on Trinsic’s application for a Conditional Zoning Permit. It has become a deeply controversial process, aggravated and obscured by SARS-CoV2 restrictions on public meetings and information.


Insects Can Be Exciting!

This past May, I had the opportunity to experience both wonder and awe when observing two interesting insects busy with life events. While not many people aside from entomologists….


Hop on Pop

Roly-poly on the beach, a tow-headed cherub clambers on his disarmed father like the man is his personal playground jungle gym. Of all the snapshots hiding in dusty closets glued to old-school, black-paged photo albums from the ‘40s labeled “Snaps,”…



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….


Vote Yes on Aura

On Wednesday, the Chapel Hill Town Council will be considering the Aura project, a mixed-use infill project at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive. We believe this is an excellent and appropriate project on a rare, transit-convenient piece of Chapel Hill land.



Council’s Vote on Aura Will Leave a Legacy

After the May 26 Chapel Hill Town Council public hearing about the Aura development plan, I wonder if it is too late for a better project for the Butler property at the corner of MLK Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive.



What Makes a Great Plant?

As any gardener will tell you, there are lots of good plants out there but few truly great plants. This got me thinking: What makes a plant great? Bob Solberg, hybridizer extraordinaire of hostas and owner of Green Hill Hostas in Franklinton, wrote an article on great hostas…


About the Author

Now that I’ve been writing this column for a couple of months, I thought you should know more about me. So I will lower my voice and speak in the third person, which sounds more authoritative and also I can’t find a second…



Shopping for Life Advice

Every parent wants to pass down words of sage advice to their graduating high schoolers. And while I’m currently on my last graduating high schooler, I’m still on the first draft…





Window Dressing

Have I mastered the art of planting containers or just gotten bored? I stalk the garden centers looking for inspiration, but my mind goes blank, so my containers end up looking pretty much the same as last season.


Juneteenth 2021

Juneteenth commemorates the day the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas finally received the news that they were free. The news came two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, on June 19, 1865.


Climbing Versus Rambling Roses

During the height of the pandemic, because there was little else to ponder, I began wondering what distinguishes rambling roses from climbing roses…


Short-Term Rentals Erode Neighborhoods

Money, Money, Money … Mon- NEY. Remember that song? Please don’t let this become the rudder steering town council decisions. I hope that you will do your level best to think independently with conscience.



Mammals on the Move

As spring progresses, we’re seeing more mammals on the move. Those whom we unfortunately see dead alongside — or on — roads often include members of the rodent group: groundhogs…