Winter Buds

We had a bitterly cold December, but according to local lore, the polar vortex over North America has given us a balmy January. Temperatures that barely count as winter, low levels of rain and snow only on much higher ground, disappointed skiers and confused garden plants. I put in bulbs in a tiny patch of…

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Hedged Chaos

It’s autumn, so my gardening to-do list is longer than during those lazy summer days of light irrigation, the occasional pass with the lawnmower and a bit of deadheading to encourage just a few more blossoms. I am a dedicated but sometimes slothful gardener, happier to carry the weight of guilt than wield the clippers…

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Sober Expectations

I saw recently that Napa Valley wineries had already started their grape harvesting season as of August 1 this year, almost two weeks earlier than the average, due to a short winter combined with a long and mild spring. So I wondered whether our long, wet, cold winter, combined with a long, wet, cold spring…

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Waiting for Eggs

Grey skies, but it’s stopped raining for the moment, so I thought I’d share a few photos of bird’s nests that are waiting for eggs this morning. All of these are located within about thirty seconds of our front door. The nests look a bit worse for wear, but within a couple of weeks at…

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Moon and Moss

It finally stopped snowing here. We had a single glorious clear afternoon and night last week, during which I took the picture of the full moon rising behind the budding plum tree in our garden. Depending on the culture (according to the Farmer’s Almanac), this is the: Full Worm Moon – the ground begins to thaw,…

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Lush Life

I planted two witchhazel bushes in the garden last year so there would be spots of color against the snow. It’s been nothing but grey, yet the red of the bushes stands out. Another standout against the grey of this late winter weekend was my wonderful neighbor, a fourth generation gardener whose ancestors tended the…

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Of Blight, Wine, Grafting, and a Kind of Success

I found a poster hanging in a small local bistro just over the border in Switzerland, one of my favorite places to eat for lunch. It’s a vintage poster for a French seed nursery in eastern France – but it’s also an historical document of an agricultural calamity. At first glance, it shows a young,…

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Muscadet Autumn

We have a grapevine that runs along one of our garden walls. It’s a  good ten paces long, not including the long droopy vines that hang three or four feet from the support wire to the ground. It was here when we moved here, and as I know that part of the garden was planted…

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