Recent Posts

It's the Plants, Darling

Steel Magnolias

    “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” -Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias   Our saucer magnolia had a tiny bit of stamina left, but I didn’t think it was worth saving. Sapsuckers had just about taken the life out of it three...

Posted by on April 11, 2018 at 8:24 am.   This post has 11 responses.
Public Gardens

Easter with Cherry Blossoms and Tourists

Midday Easter Sunday I took the subway downtown with my new bike (love it!) to check out the cherry blossoms and see what other plants might be putting on a show for the tourists.  On the trip I noticed people in costume and learned that they were on their way...

Posted by on April 5, 2018 at 4:38 pm.   This post has no responses.
Ministry of Controversy

Despite the evil, I’m sticking with Facebook

After a brief flurry of “I’m leaving” posts, the talk about Facebook’s crimes has died away from my feed. Everything seems back to normal (whatever that is). It’s not surprising, because for those who have made this network part of their daily routine and would like to continue the...

Posted by on April 3, 2018 at 8:41 am.   This post has 12 responses.
Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy

Pollinator-Friendly Lawns

The weekend before last I had the pleasure of meeting Heather Holm, a great gardener and leading advocate for pollinators from Minneapolis.  She has self-published two very useful (and attractive) books: Pollinators of Native Plants (2014) and the multiple-award-winning Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide (2017). Heather...

Posted by on April 2, 2018 at 8:45 am.   This post has 9 responses.
Everybody's a Critic, Watch Someone Else Do It

Monty Don Shines on Netflix

Good news! England’s beloved gardening guru Monty Don is now streaming on Netflix with his make-over show Big Dreams Small Spaces. Currently just Season 2 is streaming – six 1-hour episodes, each covering two gardens. Unlike the outdoor make-over shows that HGTV’s programming has devolved to, it’s the right kind...

Posted by on March 30, 2018 at 9:02 am.   This post has 14 responses.
It's the Plants, Darling

Of Kids and Kudzu for a Better World

We who worry and wonder about our social-media-obsessed youth and the future of horticulture found some relief at a recent gathering of the Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair.  And it all sort of came down to kudzu – the vine that ate the South. The fair was a...

Posted by on March 26, 2018 at 4:17 am.   This post has one response.
Real Gardens

When Porches Feel like Garden Rooms

For decades I gardened on the edge of a wooded valley, which I could see best – for views like this one in the spring – standing at the edge of my deck. From inside the house the best view was from my kitchen looking out the door to...

Posted by on March 23, 2018 at 8:54 am.   This post has 16 responses.
Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig

Forsythias need to be free

As much as I long for spring, there is one sight I am dreading. It’s the clipped hedges that were once beautiful spring-flowering shrubs, but now have become boxy travesties of their natural selves, dotted here and there with a few flowers that have managed to survive the pruning...

Posted by on March 20, 2018 at 10:08 am.   This post has 15 responses.
But is it Art?

The Gardener as Laborer and Artist’s Model

At the National Portrait Gallery, where I visited the new Obama portraits, it’s not ALL presidents and other known faces on view there. In fact, the “Sweat of their Face” exhibit is just the opposite; it “combines art and social history with representations of American laborers across genres and centuries of art.”...

Posted by on March 14, 2018 at 9:52 am.   This post has 10 responses.
What's Happening

Daffodil Doodah

Scott Pruitt was scolded recently for flying first class at taxpayers’ expense. The Administrator of the EPA was sent back to coach class for punishment. Do me a favor if you’re squeezed in next to Mr. Pruitt, waiting for your tiny bag of pretzels. Ask him if he has...

Posted by on March 14, 2018 at 8:37 am.   This post has 16 responses.
Shut Up and Dig

Seeds—so seductive, so easy to resist

Now is the time that some of my more intrepid friends are beginning their seed programs. I envy them, to some degree, as I look out the window at a still-white landscape, with a new storm on the way. But I won’t be emulating them. For me, seeds are...

Posted by on March 13, 2018 at 12:43 pm.   This post has 5 responses.
What's Happening

Stranded at the Philly Flower Show, plus Hits, Misses and Fun Facts

What with snow and some winds from hell, it wasn’t a great year for the Philadelphia Flower Show, dependent as it is on decent weather to bring in the crowds that fund the PHS’s many worthy projects. But let’s get to how the weather affected ME, shall we? I thought...

Posted by on March 8, 2018 at 9:39 am.   This post has 21 responses.
Tune In

Checking in on GardenWeb

  When I first starting looking online for garden advice in the early 2ks, the first places I visited were and the mail order ratings (Garden Watchdog) on Dave’s Garden. For a brief period, I considered using the garden journal option on DG, but then I found Blogger,...

Posted by on March 6, 2018 at 9:12 am.   This post has 7 responses.
Shut Up and Dig, Watch Someone Else Do It

The Search for Arborist Wood Chips

Arborist wood chips are in the gardening ether these days, with Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott herself (of Garden Professor and myth-busting fame) leading the charge to promote them above all over types of mulch. (Details in this brochure.) Just recently she’s debunked myths about them on a Joe Gardener podcast. There’s been...

Posted by on March 2, 2018 at 7:25 am.   This post has 6 responses.
Guest Rants, Ministry of Controversy

Bad dye jobs: get the paint off the plants!

Plants and color are two of my greatest sources of happiness. But when I see a dyed plant—whether it’s a blue orchid or an oddly ochre heather—I’m instantly enraged. You can find painted or dyed plants in nurseries, box stores and supermarkets. How did we get here? A French...

Posted by Erica Browne Grivas on February 27, 2018 at 8:29 am.   This post has 13 responses.