Vacation house

I think it’s because I work here year-round that I tend to forget that Blithewold was built as a summer retreat. The Van Wickle/McKee family came up from Pennsylvania and later down from Boston and spent the entire summer here, from late May to October. Unlike most of the grandiose Newport mansions which were occupied […]

Oopsie daisy

It could happen to anyone. Even the “professionals” get it a little bit wrong sometimes … sometimes in a pretty big way. Last week when I discovered a rather substantial error in mistaken identity that Gail and I made, I swore that I wasn’t going to tell a soul. It was too embarrassing. It seemed […]

When it pours

A rainy day offers many possibilities to the dedicated gardener. Even though a few of us might see a storm as a welcome opportunity for a break (I’m sure I’d like to wrap up on the couch with a cup of tea, a good garden book in my paws and a dog on my feet), […]

Fight or blight

Pretty safe to say that it’s not going to be a great tomato year. If we’re very very lucky maybe we’ll get some honker waterlogged fruit with split skins but conditions are apparently favorable for something even less delicious. Late Blight is all over the news and typical of the media we have been primed […]

The beetle battle

Rated NC 39 for graphic bug sex, violence and strong language In a garden as beautiful as this (the North Garden this very morning) you might not be aware at first glance of the horrors lurking within and on top. But they’re here. The first Japanese beetle was sighted (by me) on July 6th and […]