The Newly Revitalized Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus

The Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus (PDPC) was formed in Fall, 2010. For me, the inspiration was PA Democratic Progressive Caucus which born at the PA Democratic State Committee meeting in June, 2010. I eagerly signed up as one of the founding members and started thinking about how to go about this in Philadelphia.Later that summer something happened which brought home to me (and quite a few others) that there was an urgent need for a Democratic Progressive Caucus in Philadelphia ....more

The year without hydrangeas

The year without hydrangeasHydrangea Macrophyllain bloom in my garden in 2013 Well, it hasn’t exactly been year without hydrangeas. Some of my lace caps and my oakleaf made it. But this year, the hydrangeas I love the most (hydrangea macrophylla AKA mopheads) were nowhere to be seen in the gardens of the Delaware valley ....more

Marking the centennial for World War I: Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion

The centennial for World War I (August 4 1914) inspired Rick and me to watchJean Renoir’s Grand Illusion which explores the experiences of French prisoners of war in German prison camps during WW I. Generally viewed as one of the great anti-war films ever made, it was on my long list of great books never read, great films/ plays never seen.The German aristocrat who runs the camp bonds with an imprisoned French aristocrat. For the German officer, class loyalty counts more than nationality and he laments a world in which the old aristocracy is declining ....more

Gardening for Fragrance: Nothing Tops Casa Blanca!

Casa BlancaFor me, the high point of the garden season is mid to late July when the oriental lilies bloom. The most spectacular of all is Casa Blanca with its intoxicating fragrance. Sometimes I think I garden for fragrance ....more

Foliage matters or how I learned to love Astilbe.

Bridal Veil astilbeWhen I first started gardening I was infatuated with brightly colored, showy flowers. The garden I inherited was filled with phlox which were spectacular for the first few weeks of theor long season of bloom. Then came the spider mite and the powdery mildew and my phlox-filled garden became a garden filled with diseased foliage ....more

Yucca can bloom in deepest, darkest shade!

We have been gardening on his plot of land for 22 years. Many years ago a yucca plan tucked away in a dark corner of our garden bloomed. It was a one-time event and we never expected to see the yucca again—after all they’re supposed to be sun-lovers.It was too big to move so we just accepted it as a foliage plant--and the foliage is impressive ....more

The Survivors: Oakleaf Hydrangea and Blue Billow Lacecap Hydrangea

The Survivors: Oakleaf Hydrangea and Blue Billow Lacecap HydrangeaMy summer garden relies heavily on hydrangeas. About 10 years ago, Rick and I decided to prepare for old age gardening by moving away from labor intensive perennials and putting in more shrubs and ornamental trees. We planted lots of hollies for the winter; quince, early blooming rhododendron and redbud for early spring: lilacs, azaleas for mid-spring; rhododendron and Mt ....more

Block Island is Magical in June

Rick and I have been to Block Island many times—we’ve lost count of how many. We have always gone in the summer (July and August and in early September). The beaches were covered with rugosoa roses, festooned with rose hips rather than flowers ....more

Remembering Karen DeCrow

I was not involved in NOW in the mid-1970's and never had the opportunity to meet Karen DeCrow,but I learned a great deal about her when doing research for my book Feminism in Philadelphia: The Glory Years, 1968-1982. The obituaries in the NYT in the Huffington Post not convey her radical vision. She was a pioneer in bringing what we now call an intersectional approach to the feminist movement ....more

A good year for peonies! For hydrangeas not so much

Fernleaf peony I thought this might be a good year for peonies. They’re reputed to like cold winters and those gorgeous peonies we saw in Russia certainly suggested a connection between frigid winters and spectacular peony blooms. The peony season began with the early blooming delicate fern leaf peony followed by the most spectacular of all, the non-herbaceous peonies commonly known as tree tree peonyMy favorite combination is a bright white that I planted next to a deep burgundy tree peony ....more