Random Thoughts

My Brief Encounter with Julia Child

CAN WE ALL PAY HOMAGE TO JULIA CHILD THIS WEEK? On August 15 she would have turned 100 years old. Frankly, I can't think of anyone who has had a larger influence on my own adventures in the kitchen. And fortunately I was lucky enough to tell her so. My story: Read more »

The Power of Flowers Indoors

I ALWAYS WANT FLOWERS IN MY HOUSE, and now I know why. A behavioral study conducted by Harvard Medical School has concluded that flowers indoors affect our emotional well-being in a positive way. The arrangement above, which designer Erin Brady created for my entrance hall, makes me feel positively euphoric. Closeups of this inexpensive but lavish display, and more details about the power of flowers: Read more »

Newspaper Mulching

THIS MORNING, during my weekly jaunt to the county dump, I decided to go through other people's garbage. And I found what I was looking for, too: lots of newspapers. Let me show you how old news is good news when you want to make weeds instantly disappear: Read more »

Prepping for Tours: The Rose Garden

HERE AT A GARDEN FOR THE HOUSE, I'm working daily to prepare my "garden rooms" for a number of scheduled tours which begin (gasp!) early in June. Last week, I focused on the Rose Garden (above). This involved trimming the boxwood, turning on the fountains (I ran into a snag with these), and crying over the sorry appearance of the roses themselves. Read more »

Can You Help the Honey Bees?

YOU'VE PROBABLY ALREADY HEARD that bee populations are dwindling. And that's bad news, because these buzzing insects are responsible for pollinating at least 1/3 of our nation's crops. Fortunately there are three things we gardeners can do to help local populations survive: Read more »

What Would You Plant in Your “Subsistence Garden?”

HERE'S A QUESTION WORTH PONDERING: What would you plant in your veggie garden if, for some reason, you couldn't access a supermarket for an entire year? In the comments field below, list the edibles you'd grow for your very subsistence. Read more »

Keep Monsanto OUT of Your Veggie Patch

I HOPE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN TO YOU. When I bought 'Early Girl' tomato seeds back in 2010, I unwittingly voted for a corporation I vehemently oppose. Which corporation? Why, the evil empire known as Monsanto. Here are a few facts about this loathsome company, along with a few ways to keep it out of your veggie patch: Read more »