It snowed like crazy yesterday. Before the hard frost hit, I took some pics of my garden, which is still producing very well.

This is the first year we’ve been able to coax decent results from the camellias.


Here’s a row box of Swiss chard, and lettuces. Planted directly in the ground, they do not do half so well. But in raised beds, their roots protected by wire mesh, they produce most of the year.

Swiss chard is very expensive. I don’t know why anyone buys it. It is incredibly easy to grow, and can be grown in pots. It is decorative too, with bright green or red stems. Even if you only have a sunny doorway, you ought to be able to grow chard which can pass for a fine houseplant. It lives for years, and can be used in place of spinach, which is far less resilient.


Celery is another plant which did not do well for me in the ground. In a raised bed, it is a champ. We have had fresh celery for eight months from just a few plants. The critters eat the roots out if you plant in the ground, so these boxes are protected by mesh. We cover many of the plants at night to protect them from hungry rabbits, and have had few problems.

Grocery celery tastes like crunchy water, but young fresh celery stalks are sweet, and the greens are peppery. I have to cut the amount of pepper I use in a recipe because the celery is so strong. I’ve been making many soups and stews, and I love crunchy fresh celery with peanut butter!


Here is the stream from which I draw water for my plants. The heavy rains this year have given it a good flow, and it is nice to hear the little waterfall. In summer, this area is covered with wildflowers, and many animals stop here.


Trouble in paradise. A bear was here.

I don’t know what he was looking for in this bin. There is no food in it. I think they just like to go about tipping things over to vex the humans.


In the Wall Street Journal, a fast paced New Yorker gives up the city life for a chain saw and bucolic splendor. I confess I laughed at the accounts of all the hard work they encounter on only two acres.

Oh, how I laugh.

People tend to romanticize country living, and that’s a mistake. Property is needy. When my neighbor proffered a chainsaw as a housewarming gift, I thought it was generous, charming — and that I’d never use it. The seasons soon taught me better. Weeds choked the grass in the summer and leaves smothered the driveway in the fall. Snow took its place come winter, and spring meant cleaning up all the residual mess. I’d taken a leave of absence from WSJ to write a book about a small Irish pub in town, and funds were tight without a steady salary. To save hiring pros, I bought a lawn mower, a weed whacker, a leaf blower … and then a powerful snowthrower.

She’s funny.

I planted a few hundred tulips on Friday, knowing half will be eaten before they bloom. Also, some were diseased. I tossed them out for the squirrels to munch.

I didn’t put nearly as much effort into bulbs as I have in past years because I tightened up my wallet. The discount bulbs are often poor performers, and I would rather wait another year to buy good quality from a reputable supplier. So, maybe next year.