Breaking Ground; Seed. Reseed. Secede.

WHERE do you go to shoot a movie about a perfectly ordinary American whose whole life, unbeknownst to him, is a scripted show for television? Ideally, you’d find a place that looked so stereotypically small-town America, so thoroughly front-porched and picket-fenced, that it could pass for a movie set. This is what the producers of

Gardening

Reading along in THE INVITING GARDEN: Gardening for the Senses, Mind, and Spirit (Holt, $40), I suddenly came upon this provocative sentence: “Gardening is not a hobby, and only nongardeners would describe it as such.” For a writer as genial as Allen Lacy, this qualifies as a shot across the wheelbarrow. “There is nothing wrong

Breaking Ground; The Chain Saws of Salvation

ON a bright, chilly morning last month, I joined a small group of my neighbors who had gathered just south of Kent, Conn., chain saws and loppers in hand, to face down a threat to one of the prettiest landscapes in New England. Known locally as the “southern gateway” to the Berkshires, this particular stretch

Dream Pond: Just Add Water. Then Add More.

NOT long ago, I found myself in a crowded lecture hall surrounded by grim men and women sitting before specimen jars brimming with an alarming assortment of scums and growths in brodo. We had come to this annual Pond Management workshop at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., because we all had ponds

Town-Building Is No Mickey Mouse Operation

The sun was barely up over the brand-new town of Celebration, Fla., and the Rotarians had gathered in the clubhouse at the golf course for their weekly breakfast meeting. I’d come fully expecting to meet a bunch of white guys in polo shirts who’d remind me of my father, and there were quite enough of

Gardening

What is a garden for? “Pleasure” is the obvious answer, though you’d never know it from reading Americans on the subject. We have an old habit in this country of weighing down our gardening—indeed, all our commerce with nature—with barrowfuls of moral and political significance, an inheritance, no doubt, from the Puritans and probably also

Breaking Ground; So Beautiful This Ghastly Flower

STRUGGLING the other evening to stake a particularly menacing Scotch thistle without incurring too great a loss of blood, I suddenly realized that Morticia Addams has become an important influence in my garden. I haven’t quite reached the point where I snip the blooms off my roses in order to showcase their thorns, but the

The Pot Proposition; Living With Medical Marijuana

One morning in May, Sgt. Scott Savage of the San Jose Police Department’s narcotics unit paid a visit to the newest tenant in the modest one-story professional building at the corner of Meridian and San Carlos: the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center. Sergeant Savage, who has the upbeat demeanor of a young suburban cop

Homes & Gardens: Inner Space

A room of one’s own: is there anybody who hasn’t at one time or another wished for such a place, hasn’t turned those soft words over until they’d assumed a habitable shape? In my own case, there came a moment—a few years shy of my 40th birthday—when the notion of a room of my own,

Opium Made Easy

Last season was a strange one in my garden, notable not only for the unseasonably cool and wet weather—the talk of gardeners all over New England—but also for its climate of paranoia. One flower was the cause: a tall, breathtaking poppy, with silky scarlet petals and a black heart, the growing of which, I discovered