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Between the Rows
Photo by Pat Leuchtman
Marsha Sessions’ conifers in Heath have grown substantially over the years.

Between the Rows: Conifers, a large and versatile family

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pines, firs, junipers, spruces and others are all conifers, cone-bearing evergreen trees. Within this large family there are many sizes, from low-growing ground covers to very tall trees, with many types of foliage and many foliage colors from green to blue-green to gold. Evergreens like pines, firs and spruces have needles, while junipers, cedars and arborvitae have scalelike foliage. Recently, I visited two friends with conifer collections. Both bought their plants locally at different nurseries so they could choose the exact plant they desired. One friend has made use of low-growing conifers for the edges of her in-town garden, while the other lives in Heath … 0

Between the Rows: Broadleaf Evergreens

Friday, January 16, 2015

Rhododendrons are probably the largest group of broadleaf evergreens that are familiar to most of us. They can play a big part in adding substance and interest in the garden during the winter. I do confess it took me a while to understand the cigar roll shape those broad leaves take when the … 0

Between the Rows: houseplants and nurseries

Friday, January 9, 2015

Some of us may have gotten a gift plant during the holidays. If we are not experienced indoor gardeners, this can cause some anxiety. “Now what do I do?” the recipient may wonder when the gift givers have left the premises. I personally think it is perfectly acceptable to treat any gift plant … 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

Between the Rows: The mighty oak

Friday, November 15, 2013

Suddenly, there seem to be many young oak trees growing by the side of Heath roads. They are particularly noticeable at this time of year because they retain their leaves until late in the season and they have … 0

Between the Rows: Broccoli, the Alpha Vegetable

Friday, November 8, 2013

Broccoli is a popular vegetable at our house. I like to have a head of broccoli on hand and I’m always happy during gardening season when I go out and get enough for supper any time I like. Even after harvesting the main head of broccoli, I can … 0

Between the Rows: DYI autumn

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Color is a major element in any garden. Autumn color in New England brings a richness to the garden that no other season can match. We become especially aware of this in our area, with everyone watching the development of autumn color on the hillsides, along country roadsides … 0

Between the Rows: Pollinators Welcome

Saturday, July 20, 2013

When we think of pollinators, we think of honeybees, being trucked to orchards in the spring or to pollinate vast mid-western fields in the summer. The decline of the honeybee, because of disease, mites, and the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder, has been in the news for some years. … 0