Prizes and Prices

Puddock Hill Journal #23: We hosted the wonderful Garden Club of Wilmington this week, which got me thinking about awards and their consequences. Yesterday, we hosted the Garden Club of Wilmington’s annual flower show and cocktail party at Puddock Hill. The day began with organized chaos as exhibits rolled in and were placed on display throughout the […]

Dare Gardeners Play God?

Puddock Hill Journal #22: Reflections on a backyard steward’s place in nature. When someone asked Albert Einstein whether he believed in God, he is said to have replied, “I believe in the God of Spinoza.” Baruch Spinoza, to refresh your memory, was a 17th Century Dutch rationalist philosopher who argued that God and the universe […]

Ways to Grow a Tree

Puddock Hill Journal #21: Some notes on the importance of trees in the landscape. We returned from vacation to a dry spell. This meant worrying about the viability of all our plantings but especially the newer ones and especially the youngest trees. We are fortunate at Puddock Hill to have a legacy of beautiful old […]

American Invaders

Puddock Hill Journal #20: On a recent visit to the Baltics, I spotted our native plants away from home, not always behaving. You didn’t hear from me last week because Pam and I went off on a two-week Baltic cruise with her mother and some friends. The prior week’s newsletter, in case you’re wondering, was […]

Enlightened Darkness

Puddock Hill Journal #19: Here’s why backyard stewards should limit landscape lighting. I wish I could share a picture of the darkness we cultivate at Puddock Hill. A recent patio renovation included installing low-voltage path lighting, but, while we do have a few lights on the house on automatic timers, we chose not to extend […]

How to Look at Nature and Really See

Puddock Hill Journal #18: Take a field trip to your own backyard. Nature is a great seductress. She calls our attention to what she wants us to see—the flashy flower, the bird’s colorful plumage, the neons of a coral reef—while camouflaging many other varieties of living and nonliving things. I have recently come to the […]

Hope Among the Ruins

Puddock Hill Journal #17: An aggressive attack on invasive patches yields mixed results and pretty fine surprises. This time of year, the war against invasive plants at Puddock Hill takes on ominous overtones. Plants like Multiflora rose that were cut back fight back. Stifling annuals like Japanese stiltgrass begin cropping up everywhere. Yet others, like […]

Mourning the Monarchs

Puddock Hill Journal #16: We can pretend all we want, but actions have consequences. Here in the Brandywine Valley, where this spring and summer it seems to rain every two days, the vistas are shining emerald green, the trees are lush with leaves, and the meadows are an impenetrable army of vegetation. Frogs and fish […]

Life, Death, and Gardening

Puddock Hill Journal #15: Reflections on Nature After the Passing of a Dog Yesterday, we put down our beloved French bulldog, Piebald, who loved life more than life loved him. Minutes earlier, he sat for his last portrait: Frenchies, as some may know, were originally bred to lie in the laps of lacemakers and draw […]