I do know that blogs are personal and this one sure has been personal with all the whining in public about the flood in my house. But ?March 25 was the ?last day of this unexpected and major renovation to my house. The workmen are gone, it is back to its Zen serenity, and?extraordinary?beauty. The back garden is in its usual spring state: completely underwater.

Robert next door has it all hooked up with his sump pump because my system broke down somewhere so it’s turning sumps on and off as the temperatures rise.?

I also have a newsletter ready to be sent out this week. I won’t be doing another one until early summer because I’m writing a book. It’s called THRIFT: JOURNEYS THROUGH FRUGAL LIVES. ?It was Margaret Atwood’s idea, a kind of companion to PAYBACK, ?her prescient book about debt. ?And that I should write it.?

Well I am having a great time. I enjoy writing about money, and I’m particularly enjoying writing about this subject because of its timely nature. ?If you have any notions of being thrifty, please let me know your tips. I need them especially from gardeners.

I set out to talk about Spring catalogues because that’s what I’m taking to bed and bathtub for relaxing reading:

  • Gardenimport ( is one of my favourites. I’ve already ordered some great Sutton’s seeds from Dugald: ?100s and 100s Tomato seeds. I’ve seen shots of these are they are not only delicious they look great in containers (the subject of the newsletter). You always have to look at Dugald’s collection of clematis, absolutely wonderful, often new ones ?you don’t see elsewhere.?
  • When we went away I took Fraser’s Thimble Farm catalogue with me ( which is filled with rare, unusual and, for my garden, hopelessly unattainable plants. The serious collectors all shop at this nursery. I love soaking in a hot bath with this catalogue: ?no juicy garden porn, just plain old type everything well done. I’ve had very good luck with their plants. ? And will let you know later what special things I’m going to order.?
  • The other catalogue and web site I love is Bluestem Nursery (’s all about ornamental grassses, sedges and rushes. They have a new Andropogon ‘New Wave’ which is a smaller version of Big Bluestem with red tines on it’s leaves. Sounds perfect. Their web site is the most articulate ones available about grasses.?

More to come as I plough through them. Remember to sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t done so already; and send me your thrifty thoughts.