AN OUT-OF-THE-BLUE email in April shook me out of my “new normal” routine. It was an invitation from a “New York Times” editor to create a series of how-to garden articles for their readers who are finding themselves at home, in spring, and maybe could use the kind of information you come to my newsletter and my website and podcast for.
The first installment appeared April 20, with columns on Tuesdays and Fridays for the first month and then went to once-weekly on Wednesdays, starting May 20, till late August at least. The topics so far:
- Where to begin your spring cleanup in a chaotic season.
- Bed-prep using cardboard, newsprint and sometimes plastic sheeting.
- Shopping in your own garden for “free” plants.
- How to make a late-start flower garden of “annuals,” including many to direct-sow.
- Pruning Q&A with Jeff Jabco of Swarthmore’s Scott Arboretum.
- Weeding (which was really popular!).
- Success with tomatoes, with High Mowing Organic Seeds’ Tom Stearns.
- Getting started with native plants (and how to make room).
- What went wrong: when seedlings fail, or bulbs don’t bloom well.
- A 101 guide to composting (with Daryl Beyers).
- Succession sowing of vegetables, for summer-into-fall harvests.
- Take a fragrance inventory of your garden, with Ken Druse.
- Creating a garden that welcomes the birds.
- How and when to harvest garlic–and how to grow it (with Filaree Farm).
- Less familiar hydrangeas (with Dan Hinkley and Adam Wheeler).
- Strategic plant placement: How the right plant shapes spaces and forms (or blocks) views, with Bill Noble.
- Time to shop for flower bulbs (yes!), and how to use them creatively, with Chanticleer Garden.
- Invasive Asian jumping worms are ravings the soil. What scientists know, and are exploring.
- Chores to do in August for the garden’s longterm benefit, with Untermyer Gardens’ Timothy Tilghman.
- Why, and how, to start saving seeds, with Ken Greene of Hudson Valley Seed and Seedshed.
- Call me the moth gardener: How discovering moths connected me with the after-dark garden.
- Essential natives: asters and goldenrods, with Native Plant Trusts Uli Lorimer.
- Succulents: for pots, centerpieces, even adorning fall pumpkins, with Kathy Tracey, Avant Gardens.
- Houseplants that are real keepers (including easiest orchids), with NYBG’s Marc Hachdourian.
- How to overwinter tropicals and other tender plants, with Dennis Schrader of Landcraft Environments.
- A Cornell vegetable pathologist and a Cornell Lab of Ornithology expert on smarter fall cleanup.
- Birdfeeding: Why, when, what, and how to keep birds safe (and what it means to us), with Julie Zickefoose.
I thought you’d like to know—and maybe spread the word. I’m flattered to be asked, of course, but most of all, I’m pleased that a media outlet as widely read as “The New York Times” understood that the garden is a place of refuge—but can also be a little daunting!—and committed to offer their readers support right now.
The more happy garden moments that happen around the homebound nation, and world, the better I figure.
I’m also pleased for awhile at least that I get to write again for the place of my start as a journalist all those years ago. A mini-homecoming.
Go say hello; if you are a subscriber or haven’t used your quota of free articles this month, you should be able to click through. Comments are open to subscribers, who are even invited to ask questions. Uh-oh, I guess I know what I’ll be doing today …