Why would a wildlife conservation magazine ask me to write for them?  I don’t get it either — kept thinking it was some sort of scam. “Could you write on how gardening soothes the restless soul?”, they asked.  Well that just struck a cord and I wrote a very person story.   It’s in their magazine,…

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After tons of delicate spring flowers, I”m ready for some bold color and big textures.  Every year, I feel the same. In garden design, I always seek contrasting textures— which is kind of tough in spring since we have lots of new, tiny leaves and delicate flowers. Crinum bulbispermum is pushing into flower this second…

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In five inches of snow, with hand warming chemical packs in my pocket, I saw 90 different varieties of witch hazel sparkle.  The Missouri Botanical Garden staff horticulturist Sara Murphy cares for this huge planting.  They were in full flower, in the snow, in February in St. Louis. Sara knows how to make them look…

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When we started building Riverbanks Botanical Garden, 20+ years ago, we had to deal with a Pennsylvanian’s idea of southern architecture. The building, walls and walkways of some grandiose vision of antebellum structures that only ever existed in bad movies.  It reminded me that, as a teen, I loved Aunti Mame as much as any…

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Some guys go duck hunting on Christmas.  Some people go to movies.  Momma and I went in search of an elusive vine: Supple Jack.  To be honest, the vine isn’t rare, but its home is in blackwater swamps.  Special places, also home to cotton mouths and deep holes hidden in black water, but in winter,…

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Beech Island, South Carolina. The City of two untruths. There’s no beach, and there’s no island. There is a third untruth, but I’m ahead of myself. Jenks and I went to see our friend and neighbor Mark, on Friday morning. His Thanksgiving was as perfect as ours. Mark grows and bales a beautiful, healthy hay,…

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A young family who’s trying to mix modern needs into the garden of a historic Mediterranean Revival home. An 86-year-old gentleman, from the wrong side of the tracks, who enlisted in the US Navy at 16 having lied about his age. The person who organized fundraising events and presentations for the New Orleans Botanical Garden.…

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Speaking with an elderly friend today, I asked about how to get around some issues of growing persimmon trees.  He launched into a long story about an abandoned grove he recalled in south Georgia with a long aside about  his old friend who’d discovered the grove in full fruit.  At one point he said, “It…

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After a few intense weeks with hands in the dirt, focused on getting new crinum planted and on getting lots of fall leaf crop and spring flower seeds in the ground, I took a little road trip up to the red hills, around Rock Hill, Great Falls, Jenkinsville and Charlotte. Here are 20 pics from…

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