About This Blog

photo by Karl Smizer
I launched Notes from Juniper Hill in February, 2011 as a way of chronicling the day-to-day misadventures of a country gardener.  That is, someone who has one foot on the farm and the other in the garden.  It's a diary of the joy and elation that inevitably comes from living a life close to nature but it's also a record of the doubts, and often plain old fears, that can haunt you once you've realized that, perhaps, you've bitten off more than you can chew.  

It was a little over ten years ago when my partner-in-life, Paula and I purchased Juniper Hill Farm, an 18th century farmstead nestled among the hills of the Monadnock region of southern New Hampshire.  We first restored the 1789 gambrel salt-box house and then populated the huge barn and pastures with heritage breed animals.  Then, throwing all logic out the door and acting more and more like two crazed people, about six years ago we began developing a series of gardens on top of what was mostly lawn and flat pasture land.  Today, we have approximately 2 acres of both ornamental and vegetable gardens which have not simply grown on me but have become my passion.  Or, perhaps as my family and friends prefer to put it,...my obsession.  I won't deny it.  However, there's a thin line between obsession and inspiration and I have learned many important lessons from this old farm and I continue to be inspired by the gardens we have created here in this beautiful little corner of New England.

As for horticultural experience, before moving here I gardened a bit here and there, when time permitted,  and even worked for several summers on an organic farm in the early days of the "food movement," long before kohlrabi was cool.  I have had a life filled with many chapters but I can't remember a time when I didn't write, even during the course of busy careers in biomedical research, teaching, and the computer industry.  And, although I have written for many different publications in many different formats, I am now, for the first time, heeding the advice that Emerson once gave to Thoreau when he said..."keep a journal."  But in Emerson's time, when advances in publishing meant the introduction of a new shade of ink, how could he have ever imagined what form the "journal" would take in the twenty-first century? 

"Excuse me, but did you say...blog?"
Which brings me to the "transcendental philosophy" behind this entire blog.  First and foremost I hope that it becomes a conversation and that we get to know each other.  Emerson would like that part.  Beyond that...

  • It will be humorous and light-hearted.  With all the Latin we throw around and the constant talk of parterres and potagers, it's important not to take things too seriously.
  • The blog will never contain advertising.  We all need a few sanctuaries; a few no-buy zones.  Please remember, however, that I have no control over advertising that might occur in embedded links or videos from sites like YouTube.
  • The links and blogs I feature are ones I actually read.

Although most of the writing and photos included in the blog will be my own, I am fortunate to be surrounded by many friends who are a lot more talented than I am when it comes to writing, design, and photography and so I will include their work from time to time.  We will even have a few surprise guest bloggers!

And, because this is an 18th century farmstead, in addition to all the talk about gardening, there will be lots of daily topics devoted to small farming and the animals who live here, from our Corgis who think they own the entire farm to the cattle, sheep and goats who know the real truth.  It's hard to live here without feeling a palpable connection to the past and assimilating a real sense of place, so I will touch on those topics as well.

I also believe that variety is the spice of life.  Readers expect it and even I can get bored with too much Juniper Hill Farm.  So, on a regular basis, I will feature gardens I have visited and fallen for, gardeners I know and/or admire, and together we'll have some fun exploring gardening in prose, poetry and art.  

You can learn more about the Farm and the Gardens by clicking on these links.  You can also follow Juniperhillfarm on Twitter and on Facebook and you can visit the gardens during the Garden Conservancy's Open Days and during other selected garden tour dates.  Watch the blog for these announcements.

And, if you would like to contact me, click here.

So, welcome to Juniper Hill!  I hope you'll come along for the ride and check in on us from time to time!

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