Between the Rows

Between the Rows: “Coffee for Roses,” a book review

Friday, August 8, 2014

C.L. Fornari book “Coffee for Roses” is subtitled “and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening” (St. Lynn’s Press $17.95. Fornari covers a lot of ground in this book, which gives more than it promises. I had to laugh when I opened it to the first myth: “A perennial garden is less work than an annual planting because the plants come up every year.” That was a myth that I believed in when I planted my first perennial. I soon found there was more to do than wait for the plants to come up every spring. Then, when I had been tending a few “passalong” … 0

Between the Rows: beans and squash and rabbits

Friday, August 1, 2014

Beans are among the most common vegetable crops. Because they are so common, perhaps we don’t think about the great variety of beans that we can grow and enjoy. Beyond string beans, we have shelly beans, long beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans, butter beans and tepary beans. Within each of those … 0

Between the Rows: Flowers, so many beautiful choices!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gardeners who want a flower garden usually want that flower garden to be in bloom all season long. There are different ways to do this. One way is to have different flower beds for different seasons. I have never been willing to try and to put spring bulbs into a flower bed that … 0

Between the Rows: new flowers

Friday, January 31, 2014

By tomorrow afternoon, Punxsutawney Phil will have told us whether we can count on an early spring. I have heard a rumor that he may very well do so. Maybe. I already know that it is still light … 0

Between the Rows: Planning your garden, Part 4

Friday, January 24, 2014

Before I end my discussion about garden planning, I want to add a few words about the view from the house, or more specifically, the view from a window. We spend time in the garden working and time socializing in the garden, but we can also enjoy the … 0

Between the Rows: Planning your garden, Part 3

Friday, January 17, 2014

Garden Planning takes a new direction after you have decided how much time you have, what activities you want to enjoy in the garden and what the garden needs in terms of soil improvement. You will also have decided whether you want a strictly ornamental garden, or if … 0

Between the Rows: Form follows function

Friday, January 10, 2014

For me, garden planning is difficult because I am always rushing about with a new idea for a new project. Things work out in the end, but I understand the unfettered enthusiasm that a new gardener, or a gardener with a new space, feels as she looks out … 0

How much time do you have to play in dirt?

Friday, January 3, 2014

There is a pile of seed and plant catalogs next to my chair so garden planning for 2014 has begun. I already have existing gardens, the big fenced Potager, the blueberry patch, the Herb Bed, the little Front Garden for early vegetables, the Daylily Bank, the Rose Bank, … 0

Between the Rows: Get ready to make glorious mistakes!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The noted essayist and poet Charles Lamb (1775-1834) said “New Year’s Day is everyman’s birthday.” As I look at the snow covered mowing near the center of Heath, I cannot help thinking that the mowing is like the first day of the year. It is perfect and flawless … 0

Between the Rows: The gift of time

Friday, December 20, 2013

This is the gift giving season. The season inevitably leads to lots of shopping. This past Monday, I had a morning appointment in Northampton and I thought I would take the opportunity to shop along the way home. I didn’t have much shopping left because, of course, I … 0

Between the Rows: Isn't this a good time to read a good book?

Friday, December 13, 2013

The vegetable garden has been put to bed and, right now, is neatly covered with an inch of snow and ice. The planting, cultivating, harvesting and preserving seasons are past; now we are in reading season. For me, plans to make things better usually start right about the … 0

Between the Rows: Think before buying plant gifts

Friday, December 6, 2013

Plants, one way or another, play a big part in our Christmas festivities and gift giving. I can’t think of any other holiday when plants are so important. We decorate our houses with evergreen wreaths and deck our halls with holly. Or at least with laurel ropes, evergreen … 0

Between the Rows: A gardening life

Monday, December 2, 2013

Beatrix Potter is known to almost every parent, but not as well known as her most famous creation, Peter Rabbit. In Marta McDowell’s new book “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: the plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tales” (Timber Press $24.95), we meet Peter’s progenitor. In 1890, … 0

Between the Rows: Jessica Van Steensberg

Friday, November 22, 2013

Last month when I went to visit Shelly Beck at the Greenfield Community Farm, I learned that a new Heath neighbor of mine, Jessica Van Steensberg, is the associate director. I immediately had to meet her. I found her at the house on a three-acre plot she bought … 0

Between the Rows: Exuberant blooms

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Chrysanthemums are an iconic autumn flower. Pots of blooming mums are sold at every garden center, supermarket and roadside stand by the end of August. Their rich colors of garnet, purple, bronze and brilliant yellow or pale cream have tempted me many times. I buy them, but am … 0