gardening reading for the winter

My garden is wearing her winter structure already. Harder angles, the stick shapes of shrubs like my red twig dogwoods. Giant pussy willow boughs naked of leaves and catkins bobbing when a breeze blows. Looking up, the trees and their limb structure look like giant arms outstretched, and everywhere are squirrels’ nests (and even a squirrel box for our Eastern Flying Squirrels!)

Our annual tree work is done and the flower beds are resting comfortably under piles of oak leaves. I pruned the rose bushes a few weeks back, and planted my bulbs. I still spray for deer every few weeks, however.

Now as we enjoy the remainder of the Christmas season and are headed towards New Year’s Eve, I have already started the countdown to spring and wondering what the garden will look like because every year as my garden matures, it’s a little different.

As we head further into winter months, my inner gardener always gets twitchy. It’s hard to dig in the dirt when the ground is frozen, after all.

So how do I bide my gardening time until it’s spring? Gardening and seed catalogs and gardening books.

This winter’s reading list for books will be as follows:

  • Down To Earth by Monty Don
  • The Complete Gardener by Monty Don
  • The New Shade Garden by Ken Druse

Read a review of Down to Earth HERE. You can buy new and used copies on Amazon and eBay.

The Complete Gardener has been out quite a few years now. My edition is 2003. But it is worth the purchase. My copy came from eBay and a British book seller. Also available through many sources including Amazon.

The New Shade Garden by Ken Druse first came out in 2016. I had to do a bit of a search to track down a copy of this book. It’s a little pricey too. But it is an awesome book thus far. The book has suggested plant lists which I love. The author, Ken Druse, also has a website which is terrific.

Anyway, these are the books I am delving into while I wait for spring.

Thanks for stopping by.

christmas magic

My friend Sara came over this morning. And either while she was here or before she got here someone else was here. And it’s the great Christmas mystery thus far.

Someone left me this beautiful bag with two of the cutest nutcrackers ever in the bag. There was no card, there was no note. It’s like my O. Henry Christmas magic moment.

Only I do not know whom to thank!

If you are my Christmas elf know that I love this present! It’s so awesome and perfectly Christmas!

See that’s the thing about Christmas: if you just believe these amazing things happen.

the company you keep: gossip and politics

I think I sometimes truly grow weary of the politics of politics and all it entails including gossip….locally. Sometimes I find people that are perfectly nice becoming collateral damage because they are judged quite literally by the company they keep, right or wrong.

Ahh yes, the old adage you are judged by the company you keep. I remember my own mother telling me that when I was a teenager, and I remember scoffing at the idea. Then I remember being in my mid 20s and figuring out exactly what she was talking about and it was one of those a-ha moments that sometimes your mother is right. A friend of mine and I were talking about it recently and they said their mother said to them “show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”

(Please don’t tell my mother I said she was right about something LOL, I will never hear the end of it.)

Anyway, this friend came to me to talk about a tsunami of really unpleasant social media. She’s not someone I know real well but I have known for a few years. I met her when she lived elsewhere and I was first out here. She’s been living for the past few years in a place in Chester County where I have a lot of friends. Only I don’t know if her experience has been so friendly all of the time while living there.

This person is fast becoming what I can only describe as collateral damage in a power struggle that she should just be left out of. But it’s kind of hard when you live in a small community. My friend’s opinions are strong, which I respect because I have some pretty strong opinions at times.

My friend is a very loyal person, and she has formed friendships in this community that I would not personally choose for myself, but it’s her decision. And I dance around the subject of these people with her because I don’t think it’s fair for my perspective to influence or taint hers. But if I was going to be dead on honest I would have to say that I hope these people remain good and decent people towards her. I have to admit I don’t know if they are capable of it, but that’s just my opinion, and I hope I am wrong.

This power struggle which exists for very good reasons can be contentious enough at times that it is literally like a battle of the Hatfields and the McCoys. And sadly, the people this person has aligned herself with have indeed hurt other people I care about. They have also come for me on occasion because I have my own opinions on things. But because I don’t live in the middle of all of them, I can be more objective at times and say I just don’t like them.

But this person whom I know, is again, literally being judged by the company she keeps. And I understand why, but it’s Christmas and I just wish everybody would let up a bit.

Chester County is an amazing place to live. Her residents have amazing heart. However, when it comes to politics and local shenanigans, it gets ugly. I have seen it in municipality after municipality. I used to think nothing could get more upsetting than Main Line or Delaware county gossip and politics… Until I moved to Chester County. Local politics can be a bloodsport out here, but can we say one of the roots of the cause can be when folks deal out good old-fashioned shady assed behavior?

I’m no fool, and I have my battle scars from just a few years living here. I’m outspoken and I’m a blogger. I don’t think you’re supposed to be either in the minds of some people. You are simply supposed to be some form of a Stepford wife. Or a bobble head.

I have done my time over the years of being the subject of gossip for being outspoken and a blogger and this whole theory of knives and knitting needles. And I have been the target of behavior that is so incredibly malicious and hurtful directed at me mostly because I was different than they were, or even because I just did not like them.

I think adult social bullying is the worst, and I truly think that a lot of people don’t even realize they are doing it. Another friend of mine and I were discussing this recently. She lives down on the Main Line and she noted that a child who was sadly very bullying towards classmates in school had parents who exhibited the exact same behavioral patterns towards adults.

Suffice it to say, human beings can be so incredibly cruel to one and other.

I think 2018 will go down in the history books as a year where everyone was totally mean to each other. I think a lot of this has to do with the stage that has been set in Washington DC , truthfully. People are so angry from coast to coast, and here in our little corner of the world you see it as well.

It’s Christmas. And my wish for Christmas as far as this nonsense goes, is a hope it just at takes a cease-fire at a minimum. Just slow your roll and stop being so mean to one and other. And you know what? I’m taking myself to task here as well. I haven’t been as nice this year as I should have been.

Just because someone doesn’t share in your exact ideology and belief system it doesn’t make them a bad person. And yes, even if they are friends with people you can’t stand it doesn’t make them a bad person.

In this life, we are all judged by the company we keep. And we also need to pause and remember we can’t control the actions of others we can only control the actions of ourselves.

Peace on earth, good will towards men, remember?

Thanks for stopping by.

happy place: four dogs tavern/ marshalton inn

Don’t you just love this Chester County treasure? Four Dogs Tavern/Marshalton Inn?

Whenever another development is proposed in any part of the county, I think of places like this. You can’t create this out of Tyvec.

Marshalton is a happy place. Come visit and see the festive decorations and have a meal at Four Dogs!

off whitford road….again

I have written about this house a couple of times before – HERE and HERE.

Like many other forlorn old houses it captures my eye every time I drive by.

Must everything turn into “flats” and “carriage homes”?

Here’s hoping someone, some day shows this home some love before it’s too late…