This is also a time of reflection, reviewing the past and anticipating the future.  
     There have been events in my life that have taught me the importance of a personally constructed elegant exit. I remember standing at the top of a narrow, steep trail in Nepal watching a trekking party climbing toward us. I caroled cheerful greetings to the porters who were talking and laughing. One of the trekkers, a European woman, sweaty and streaked with trail dust snarled at my cheerful greeting as she passed.  more


Some time ago I wrote that one of the consequences of down-sizing to a smaller home was my opportunity to construct a Keep-on-Gardening-Even-Though- I’m–Almost-80 garden.  I have surrendered a bit of (non-political) stamina, am more aware of where I walk and have relinquished the use of the wheelbarrow. But, I remind myself, that sort of physical stuff would happen whether I gardened or not.  more

There are advantages to taking a long and careful view of how gardening has evolved.  I’ve described how gardening has gone from ‘eye candy’ floral displays and “plant in groups of threes” to a realization that now gardeners are encouraged or expected to be capable amateur soil scientists, chemists and persons knowledgeable about sustainability, wise water use and more.  more 
[Cathie now lives and gardens on the southwestern edge of Rapid City in Whispering Pines.]

One of the joys of journalism is the discovery of what let’s call ‘the other story’ in an article. This other story should encourage curiosity and/or connect the information to previous knowledge.  more

 Cathie Draine's "Digs" garden columns have been a favorite feature of the Rapid City Journal daily newspaper since 1999.  They offer a range of perspectives that can be read by both beginners and experienced gardeners.

     She lives surrounded by ponderosa pines on a sandstone hogback along the Piedmont Valley which meanders northwest from Rapid City to the Wyoming state line about 50 miles away.  To the east stretch the Great Plains, to the west unfold the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. Her gardening orientation is especially appropriate for this region. 

     Some articles suggest "how to" gardening techniques appropriate to the season, but she is respectfully aware of the abundance of online (that is, 24/7) websites with botanical and horticultural information hosted by extension services and universities in the area.  She often picks up where these sites tend to leave off.  

     Gardening events and clubs sometimes receive attention.  Events from gardening history and classic literary works are often pursued to extend the gardening topics into imaginative realms.  Book reviews help gardeners sort out what's coming off the various presses.

The new garden is almost ready for winter. Loads and loads (and more loads) of city compost have been spread over wet cardboard and newspapers and hay to kill the grass, age and settle over the winter. Some iris and peonies have been transplanted from our previous home.  more

High Summer in the Black Hills.  “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
― Henry James

Gardeners have long, long thoughts during the dog days of summer.  Cathie Draine has some timely advice on what to expect in the summertime garden.  more

Cathie is a South Dakota Cooperative Extension Master Gardener and a member of the Garden Writers Association. 

Gardening with age.  I have mentioned that LeRoy and I are experiencing that grand adventure of “downsizing” by choice. He is 80 and I am 77. We have no need of a large home, outbuildings, a small barn, large garage and extensive gardens.  We do have a need for a smaller garden for me, a workshop for LeRoy and a slightly smaller home that will continue to welcome family and friends.

             As a gardener and a garden writer I talk with many persons about their gardens or the pleasures of gardening. What saddens me are those who sigh, “I had to give up the garden,” or “I really miss gardening”, or sadder yet,  “I guess I am too old to garden.”  more




Miss Gardening? Grow Green Beans Indoors This Winter


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For gardeners who just can’t stand to keep their hands out of the soil for any length of time, growing food indoors in containers can be a great pastime during the winter months.


Green beans are a relatively quick-growing vegetable that can be grown inside your home and also look quite beautiful, as well.


Plants that you are growing indoors can be started any time of the year, but you still need to remember that they have certain environmental requirements. Green beans need plenty of light, so you will need to place them in a part of your home where they can get a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day. Alternatively, grow lights can work if you do not have a window that gets enough sun.