Recent Posts


A Botanical Translator

Botanists speak a special language, one that is frequently unintelligible to outsiders like me.  This has frustrated me at times, for instance when I’ve tried to use a botanical key or field manual to identify an unfamiliar plant.  Now, though, I’ve got expert help. A week ago I picked...

Posted by on August 7, 2017 at 9:55 am.   This post has 2 responses.
It's the Plants, Darling, Public Gardens

Sunflowers Rivaling Cherry Blossoms as Top Plant Attraction

Here’s why I’m going out on a cherry blossom limb to assert that the humble sunflower is gaining on DC’s most overhyped flowers. Just outside DC, Maryland’s McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area is just now seeing its sunflower fields cleared of photographers from near and far. There’s a special Guide for Photographing...

Posted by on August 4, 2017 at 10:07 am.   This post has 3 responses.
But is it Art?, Guest Rants

That Porn on the Patio

Guest Rant by Alan Burke  I was asked a few years ago to put together a landscape design for a historic school in Seattle. Wrapping the bases of the building’s large Corinthian columns with Bears breech (Acanthus mollis), I pointed out to the client that Acanthus was the plant...

Posted by Alan Burke on August 2, 2017 at 8:25 am.   This post has 3 responses.
Everybody's a Critic, Guest Rants, Real Gardens

When it comes to gardening coverage, think locally!

I can’t remember a time when the Houston Chronicle wasn’t a part of my life.  My parents were faithful subscribers, just as my husband and I have been since we married in 1983.  I was fortunate enough to be a contract employee for a while, working with garden editor...

Posted by Cindy McMorris Tournier on August 1, 2017 at 9:07 am.   This post has 14 responses.
It's the Plants, Darling

17 New Plants, One Aging Gardener

So having just returned from a favorite nursery with 17 new plants I didn’t really need – but couldn’t live without – my mind leans toward the phenomenon of impulse buying, if not Zen and The Art of Horticultural Maintenance. Precisely what is it that triggers the mind to...

Posted by on July 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm.   This post has 4 responses.
Public Gardens

Beach Town’s Transition from Gambling and Gangs to Gorgeous Gardens

This week I visited North Beach, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, about 45 minutes from my home. I hadn’t been there since the 1980s, when I remember it as rundown and generally depressing. A little research into the town’s history explains why. From Wikipedia: The town was a gambling mecca...

Posted by on July 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm.   This post has no responses.
Garden Walk Buffalo, Real Gardens

The quick and dirty tricks of the yearly show gardener

Keep in mind that I’m not talking about gardens that are regularly visited by the public, via bus tours, Open Days, and appointments. Those are the real show gardens, and they don’t need to resort to subterfuge because they are maintained by dedicated owners (and sometimes staff) and they...

Posted by on July 25, 2017 at 10:00 am.   This post has 7 responses.
Real Gardens

Garden Update Five Years On

Since ripping out the turfgrass in my new townhouse garden in 2012, I’m still waiting for the turfless garden to look DONE, like Evelyn Hadden’s new garden seems to have done in barely a season. Here you see the front garden in late May, after the azaleas were done....

Posted by on July 21, 2017 at 5:27 am.   This post has 10 responses.
Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Unusually Clever People

Buffalo’s first green roof, ten years later

Buffalo is not landscape architecture central. Aside from a large Olmsted park system (that’s been adulterated in spots), I find many WNY public landscapes uninspired. Private gardens are the thing here; almost 500 of them will be open to the public next week. However, I do have a favorite...

Posted by on July 20, 2017 at 11:14 am.   This post has Comments Off on Buffalo’s first green roof, ten years later.
Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants

So Beekeepers, You Want to Save the World?

Guest Rant by Helen Yoest I was only six years old when Rachel Carson changed my world. And by all standards, Ms. Carson influenced a generation with her book, Silent Spring. That was some powerful stuff. Since that time, so many of us are engaged in saving everything from birds...

Posted by Helen Yoest on July 18, 2017 at 10:40 am.   This post has 20 responses.
Real Gardens

What is “cute”?

The other day, a visiting friend gasped when he saw a rat run across a corner of the suburban Connecticut yard where I garden during the week.  I shuddered when he told me.  I could guess what had drawn the creature:  we have a henhouse full of geriatric chickens...

Posted by on July 17, 2017 at 10:43 am.   This post has 6 responses.
Unusually Clever People, Watch Someone Else Do It

The Success of Mississippi State’s “Southern Gardening”

These days I follow dozens of gardening channels on Youtube, especially those of Extension universities, where there are hundreds of good veg-growing videos are to be found. Except for the topic of turfgrass, videos about ornamentals are a lot less common. So naturally I noticed this guy – Gary...

Posted by on July 14, 2017 at 10:00 am.   This post has Comments Off on The Success of Mississippi State’s “Southern Gardening”.
Unusually Clever People

The Garden and Nursery Boat

I stared out my elementary school window for years, bored out of my skull, determined to forsake fractions for adventure. The Ohio River, my escape route, was a few miles away. My curiosity for the river life was inspired by Huckleberry Finn and amplified years later by Harlan Hubbard’s...

Posted by on July 12, 2017 at 8:13 am.   This post has 6 responses.
Public Gardens, Real Gardens

Garden Bloggers take DC (area)

First, it must be stressed that I am not a good tour taker. I love looking at gardens, but I can enjoy a smaller garden pretty quickly, and then I’m done. I’m better in big public gardens, where you can keep moving and there’s always something different around the...

Posted by on July 11, 2017 at 10:28 am.   This post has 3 responses.
Real Gardens

I’m a City Center Gardener

People in my town routinely pass this garden spot as they walk from the parking lot to the town center (appropriately named Roosevelt Center, since the town was built as a New Deal works and housing project). But walk a few more steps and just before reaching the Center you...

Posted by on July 7, 2017 at 7:37 am.   This post has 9 responses.