Guest Columns

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….


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.



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…







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.






The New Old Normal

It’s not over. The pandemic. But it’s close enough to almost being close enough to almost being close enough to being over. Or maybe it’s inching toward as-over-as-it’s-going-to-get land.














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…







Bringing Tourism Back

Like spring itself, the world feels like it’s rising again, about to bloom in the coming summer sun. In this new and brighter light we have an opportunity to see what’s changed and how we can do what we did before in new and better ways…