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    Books, Everybody's a Critic

    The good and the bad from the Brits

    Many of us have a love/hate affair with gardening advice and essays that come from across the Atlantic.  There is always love, of course, for this mothership of great estate gardens, internationally known garden events, and giants of gardening design and literature like  Gertrude Jekyll, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Pearson,...

    Posted by on September 8, 2014 at 8:45 am.   This post has 6 responses.
    Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform

    Support this Lawn-to-Prairie Make-Over

    Friend-of-Rant Benjamin Vogt wrote to tell me about his exciting new project on Indiegogo -ripping out his front lawn and replacing it with a wildlife garden that he’ll use to spread the word about how beautiful wildlife and native-plant gardens can be – even in front yards.  He went...

    Posted by on September 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm.   This post has 12 responses.
    Real Gardens

    B&B Garden Attracts Customers

    At least the tiny garden in front of the Royal Rose Inn in Rehoboth Beach, DE got this potential customer’s attention when I walked by it this week, and you better believe I’ll be staying there the next time I visit.  The garden said to me:  ”Fun place to stay!”...

    Posted by on September 5, 2014 at 9:36 am.   This post has 3 responses.
    But is it Art?

    Murals without vandalism. How do they do that?

    Wandering around Pittsburgh I came upon this fabulous mural depicting cherry blossoms in bloom and a charming collection of old homes.  It was off the beaten track, enlivening not a park but the parking lot for a neighborhood restaurant. How does something so wonderful get done, anyway?  By an...

    Posted by on September 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm.   This post has 19 responses.
    But is it Art?, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening

    The Parklet Craze

    This year’s international Park(ing) Day falls on September 19, a mere two weeks from now. On that day, individuals, groups, and businesses in cities around the world will commandeer on-street parking spaces and convert them to temporary parklets. These people-friendly spaces might include plants, seating, bike parking, games, exercise...

    Posted by on September 3, 2014 at 3:08 am.   This post has 2 responses.
    But is it Art?

    Ruin Garden at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory – a Must-See?

    From my recent stay in Pittsburgh I’ve shown you Randyland, which writer/adventurers Susan Reimer,  Ginny Smith,   Carrie Engel and I stumbled upon while playing hooky from hotel conference rooms. We were on our way to another destination,  installation-art gallery the Mattress Factory, which had been called a “must-see” by keynote speaker...

    Posted by on September 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm.   This post has 10 responses.
    Grab Bag

    Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, Late August

    I spent a sublime morning this week at the Blackwater  National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, in the beautiful State of Maryland. Outside the Visitor’s Center, a wildlife garden that includes Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis), The very-familiar Rudbeckia with the less common Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana). One...

    Posted by on August 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm.   This post has 4 responses.
    Guest Rants

    The End of Organic Gardening

    by Don Boekelheide in Charlotte, North Carolina During a fierce summer thunderstorm last Friday night, I found out that Organic Gardening will no longer be with us next year. As the lightning flashed and the rain hammered down on the tin roof of the packing shed, I stared in disbelief...

    Posted by Don Boekelheide on August 29, 2014 at 7:49 am.   This post has 8 responses.
    Eat This, Guest Rants

    The Success of Failure

    By Amanda Morris, Ph.D Twisted, dessicated, browned vines droop across their cages, all life and vitality wrecked by powdery mildew, too much water, not enough air, and failed planning. These are my spaghetti squash, Honey Bear acorn squash, Jubilee watermelon, Sugar Baby watermelon, and honeydew plants; a pitiful display...

    Posted by Amanda Morris on August 28, 2014 at 6:41 am.   This post has 17 responses.
    Green the Grounds, Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy

    Postcards From The Edge – DROUGHT

    I have lived through drought before, but I have never seen anything like what I am witnessing now. I live in what is usually called an “up and coming” community – this is one of those places where artists and musicians come to raise their families, and before the...

    Posted by on August 27, 2014 at 10:05 am.   This post has 43 responses.
    Real Gardens

    Sensational

    It’s a fact that botanical gardens have to keep on their toes to attract visitors throughout the year. Just as with art museums, a great collection is not enough.  In addition to the traditional special events, like orchid, mum, spring flower, coleus, and poinsettia shows, there must be model...

    Posted by on August 25, 2014 at 8:49 am.   This post has 8 responses.
    Ministry of Controversy

    Who’s more controversial – Michelle Rhee or Scotts Miracle-Gro?

    To most of the media, it’s the famous education reformer Michelle Rhee, ex-DC Schools Chancellor, who’s controversial, unpopular, even reviled by some, especially teachers’ unions. (Interesting read on the subject.)  So when Scotts MiracleGro recently named her as a trustee, teachers called for a boycott of Scotts, and readers were presumably left with the...

    Posted by on August 22, 2014 at 9:03 am.   This post has 27 responses.
    Lawn Reform, Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig

    Courtyard Garden: One Year Later

    It’s time for an update on my courtyard garden. The thrill of saying that hasn’t dimmed after a year, and I imagine I will still be delighted about it if I am lucky enough to have a courtyard garden decades from now. First, a quick before-and-after pairing to show...

    Posted by on August 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm.   This post has 11 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Real Gardens

    Riverscaping

    While on a brief getaway in the northern Catskills, we saw plenty of natural beauty, including late summer wildflowers (rudbeckia, asters, eupatorium, and more) along the trails. We also saw some lovely manmade landscaping that took full advantage of its context. Along route 28, just past Phoenicia, you’ll pass...

    Posted by on August 18, 2014 at 9:20 am.   This post has 6 responses.
    Real Gardens

    Contrasting Gardens in Pittsburgh

    I’m home from visiting Pittsburgh, where I attended the big Garden Writers Symposium, and thankfully I returned with a few photos to post here.  (After posting here for eight years this summer I’m thrilled to find anything new to write about.) First up, a study in contrasts starts with the...

    Posted by on August 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm.   This post has 19 responses.