Recent Posts

Public Gardens

Destination weddings—and horticulture

That’s the bonus when you get to travel from the icy fastnesses of the Northeast at this time of year. It’s not just warmer; there’s a whole new world of plants that aren’t ever available in Buffalo except—sometimes—as houseplants and annuals. We were recently at a resort in Punta...

Posted by on March 16, 2017 at 8:25 am.   This post has no responses.
Science Says, What's Happening

Saved by The Marx Brothers and Oak Trees

I am not shy about telling friends who voted for Donald Trump that I think the president is a clown. Many of them agree Trump is a clown, too, but they argue that he’s a better clown than the clown I voted for. We try to be civil with...

Posted by on March 15, 2017 at 7:35 am.   This post has 10 responses.
Lawn Reform

Enlightened Lawn Care for Spring

I’m sure you’ve noticed the barrage of ads every spring telling us to “green up” our lawns with fast-acting fertilizer, and don’t forget the pesticides! Sadly, the Internet, where search results are dominated by click-bait sites from dubious sources and even from known quacks, isn’t much better. That makes me...

Posted by on March 10, 2017 at 6:56 am.   This post has 8 responses.
Designs, Tricks, and Schemes

It’s show time!

Tis the season for “Home and Garden” shows throughout the land. There are also the iconic flower/garden shows held in Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and a few other places. I’ve never been to any of these, though I did attend Canada Blooms a couple times; it’s a large and...

Posted by on March 9, 2017 at 11:19 am.   This post has 2 responses.
Science Says, What's Happening

From Light Shows to Mangroves

Rose and I returned home from Sanibel, Florida, a few weeks ago. I couldn’t stir up a bingo game there but found plenty of other subtropical diversions for old people. I was homesick the whole time but the beach was good to us. Glimpses of spring arrived in Kentucky...

Posted by on March 8, 2017 at 6:57 am.   This post has 8 responses.
Gardening on the Planet, Science Says

Challenging Our Assumptions

To be the best gardeners we can be we need to challenge our own assumptions from time to time. Recently, I have been doing just that by reading Emma Marris’ book Rambunctious Garden – Saving Nature in a Post Wild World. In this book, Marris questions the practicality and...

Posted by on March 6, 2017 at 7:53 am.   This post has 18 responses.
But is it Art?

Do Orchids Belong in a Sculpture Museum?

Boy, do they ever! At least in the Brutalist bunker that is the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum on the National Mall. The orchid show, a yearly event put on by the Smithsonian and the U.S. Botanic Garden, is described as “colorful time-based installations, constantly changing throughout the exhibition’s four-month run. Visitors are...

Posted by on March 3, 2017 at 8:57 am.   This post has 4 responses.
Gardening on the Planet

Finally, they’re coming for the leaf blowers

At least in California. According to an NPR report I heard yesterday (2/28), these will be the biggest ozone polluters in that state—pulling ahead of cars—within three years. Most Rant readers know how much we (at least Susan and I and probably our partners as well) hate these evil...

Posted by on March 1, 2017 at 8:00 am.   This post has 7 responses.
Ministry of Controversy

Peter del Tredici Talks about Urban Ecology

Thomas Christopher’s recent post about Peter del Tredici’s Wild Urban Plants of the  Northeast:  A Field Guide prompts me to post this video of his talk for the Cultural Landscape Foundation. Peter was also profiled here on GardenRant after his 2010 talk to the ASLA annual conference.

Posted by on February 28, 2017 at 10:14 am.   This post has 8 responses.
Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Watch Someone Else Do It

Best Videos about Planting Trees, Shrubs and Perennials – and Let the Arguing Begin?

“There’s controversy in gardening?” is a question I’m often asked, as if gardening were crafting, I suppose. Rant readers, who can answer that question while citing the hottest topics in gardening today, may be surprised to learn about a new one – soil amendments, good or bad. Yes, despite...

Posted by on February 24, 2017 at 8:02 am.   This post has 7 responses.
Gardening on the Planet

Gardening with a purpose

This phrase appears in many recent industry trend reports, but I don’t quite remember what they mean by it. Here’s what I mean by it. For years now, it’s been abundantly clear that the country (and planet) we all garden on is threatened with wide-ranging environmental peril. We all...

Posted by on February 21, 2017 at 9:34 am.   This post has 9 responses.
Gardening on the Planet, Science Says

A New Take on Invasive Plants

I’ve been reading an important book. It’s not new – it was published in 2010 – but it is even more relevant today than when it was fresh off the press. It is Peter Del Tredici’s Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast. Conceived of as a field guide to...

Posted by on February 20, 2017 at 10:25 am.   This post has 14 responses.
Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling

Trees are Worth more Dead than Alive (to Wildlife)

Walking around the lake near my house I’ve noticed the preponderance of snags – dead trees left standing, most of them without their tops. Here’s one along the path. Knowing they’re important for wildlife, I was happy to see so many, but it took a bit of googling to...

Posted by on February 17, 2017 at 10:13 am.   This post has 15 responses.
Science Says, What's Happening

Sweet Land of Liberty, from Salvisa to Sanibel

  Two weeks ago, while stuck at winter’s ugly intersection of “alternative facts” and grays skies, I sat patiently and watched the red light flash green. It dried out, and the sun shone for a day. “I think I can, I think I can,” I began muttering. In a...

Posted by on February 15, 2017 at 7:46 am.   This post has 8 responses.
It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig

Stop with the ugly evergreens

Why do so many landscapers think evergreens are an absolute must in cold climates? Aside from healthy mature trees and tree farms that I see on drives, most of the evergreen plantings I see around me in Western New York fail for a variety of reasons. Brown/mostly brown/somewhat brown...

Posted by on February 14, 2017 at 9:13 am.   This post has 7 responses.