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Big, Brazen and Bawdy

Written by Tovah Martin

The deliveryman was just being gallant, I’m sure. When he offered to bring the box of books in out of the snow, he probably assumed he’d toss it into your typical vestibule and be done with it. Sign here. In fact, he was hoping to summarily dump it into one of those cavernous entryways with enough room to hold a town meeting (in a small town, no pressing new business). But a few steps in, he regretted his valiance. Chivalry suddenly entailed wedging between the oddball sedum showering its succulent leaves down to the ground. It meant beating back the cissus groping tendrils at his clipboard. It could only accomplished after sidestepping the sacrificial fescue shedding mangled grass tufts on the floor after the kitten slowly tortured it into submission. He was feeling deeply out of his element. Then he caught glimpse of the amaryllis. And he breathed an audible sigh of relief. This lady is just this side of normal, he figured.


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Written by Tovah Martin

Turning heads isn’t a cakewalk in my little New England town. Take the tulips, for example. Less than 200, and you’re whistling in the dark. Sure, I get the occasional glad hand. But it takes numbers to raise the eyebrows. I claim that I don’t care, but when the first Schnauzer came down the driveway to pay his compliments, that was big. You’re wondering why I’m seemingly such a slave to neighborhood recognition, aren’t you? Well, whether they love it or hate it is not important. What’s critical is that they notice it. I’m just like Lady Gaga in that  way.



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Written by Tovah Martin

We are thrilled to have Tovah Martin contributing to Gardening Gone Wild. She is a freelance writer, lecturer, and author of over a dozen garden books including the recently published The New Terrarium. Tovah says that she has a problem with bulbs. It’s called obsession. The fires of infatuation were fanned when she chronicled Piet Oudolf and Jacqueline van der Kloet’s New York Botanical Garden installation for Seasonal Walk at NYBG. And multiple trips to Holland only made her heart race faster into the bulbosphere. Read more about what Tovah’s up to on her website. Fran Sorin

DSC_0641.JPG-allium Shoulders hunched, hood up, muffler enwrapped, I saw the flashlight coming up behind me. So I fell into step with my neighbor on our evening walk. Briefly, we exchanged pleasantries. Then she got immediately to the grit. “So,” she wanted to know, “you’ve been digging…” and she let it dangle. I knew what she was hinting at. I knew what was on her mind. “2,250 bulbs,” is all I answered. “Wait and see.”

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An Interview With Jacqueline van der Kloet #1 for post

Photo: Tea Garden

One has only to experience Jacqueline van der Kloet’s personal garden, The Tea Garden, to understand why she is known as one of the premiere bulb designers in the world. When I visited in mid-April, even with a 2 week delayed bloom time due to an unusually cold winter, it was lush, exuberant, almost sweet, yet paradoxically strong. The roundish circular flow, with winding pathways and evergreens judiciously placed, immediately gave a sense of order. Upon walking through an unassuming gate, I was met by large sweeps of narcissus and yellow tulips as the lead players and the majestic Fritillaria imperialis dotted about; I felt as if I had been transported to a spring wonderland. Continue Reading →

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Unexpected Delights – Gladiolus In My Garden

‘Flevo Party’ gladiolusUntil a few years ago, glads definitely wouldn’t have appeared on my list of top 10 (or 50, or even 100) plants. If I thought of them at all, I pictured rows of long-stemmed, huge-flowered spikes leaning at precarious angles, with color that lasted all of about two days. I do like the look of them in arrangements, but for garden interest? Forget it. Well, have you ever heard the saying “Never name the well at which you will not drink”? As soon as I say I don’t like a particular plant, it seems I’m invariably required to admit I was wrong. There’s simply nothing like a garden to keep one humble.

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