Jerry Baker’s Quackery Lives On

Jerry Baker, the self-styled “America’s Master Gardener” and highly successful huckster for home-remedy books and products died in March of this year at the age of 85. I was curious to see how the gardening world would note his passing, especially those who attacked his teachings, some repeatedly. I myself started attacking Baker’s advice on […]

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 at 7:19 am   This post has 4 responses.

Famously secret spaces

What do Jeremy Irons and Ozzy Osbourne have in common? We know they’re Brits, so the answer shouldn’t be that hard: both own and maintain beautiful countryside gardens in England. So do Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rupert Everett, and Sting. And if you want something completely different, visit Terry and...

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Posted by on September 20, 2017 at 10:55 am   This post has one response.

All Maters Matter

Guest Ranter Ralph Haas, and his Kailua Farm partners, had a goal of winning a ribbon at the Kentucky State Fair last week. They had one problem. They couldn’t pull together five red tomatoes between them. Ralph wrote a letter of explanation that was submitted with their fair entry....

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Posted by Ralph Haas on August 23, 2017 at 7:10 am   This post has 5 responses.

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...

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Posted by on August 7, 2017 at 9:55 am   This post has 2 responses.

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...

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Posted by Alan Burke on August 2, 2017 at 8:25 am   This post has 3 responses.

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...

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Posted by Cindy McMorris Tournier on August 1, 2017 at 9:07 am   This post has 14 responses.

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...

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

Till Like It’s 1899!

For years I rented rototillers or—more expensively—owned gas tillers of my own. There’s nothing like tearing up a big patch of ground until your hands are so numb and tingly you can barely hoist a glass to celebrate your gardening rampage. Many of us feel like we should cut...

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Posted by David the Good on July 6, 2017 at 8:00 am   This post has 4 responses.

Mort Libby

Scott Beuerlein returns with another Guest Rant and pays tribute to one of the good ones. Somewhere back in the late 80s, I decided I knew more than at least half the landscapers out there and took that as a sign that it was time to start a side...

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Posted by Scott Beuerlein on July 5, 2017 at 7:58 am   This post has 10 responses.

Winning Writers and Gardeners at the American Hort Society

Last night the American Horticultural Society held its annual awards gala at its headquarters (above, an estate formerly owned by the Geo. Washington family) on the shores of the Potomac in Alexandria, VA. I was there, along with two GardenRant award-winners an assortment of movers and shakers in the plant world....

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Posted by on June 9, 2017 at 7:57 am   This post has 4 responses.

Portrait of a Garden

I had, when I studied horticulture back in the 1970’s, the good fortune to be exposed to the last generation of a great gardening tradition.   At the New York Botanical Garden, where I was a student, there were still a number of elderly gardeners who had been trained on...

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Posted by on May 15, 2017 at 8:15 am   This post has 2 responses.

A Taraxacum officinale Grower Reveals Her Secrets

Guest Post by Amy Campion We were getting ready to go to the Hortlandia Plant Sale, when Scott and I saw it. Its blossoms glowed like pure sunshine. “Oh, my God,” I said. “Is that…?” Heather nodded. “Taraxacum officinale,” Scott said breathlessly. I realized then that Heather had been...

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Posted by Amy Campion on May 7, 2017 at 7:58 am   This post has 12 responses.

Quit throwing out the scary stuff: compost it instead!

As I emptied buckets of human waste into a bin filled with red wigglers, the realization hit me: I had reached peak compost. This was it. Eggshells and hair were just gateway drugs. Later I got into the hard stuff: moldy lasagna, spoiled stew, roadkill… And now here I...

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Posted by David the Good on May 4, 2017 at 8:00 am   This post has 10 responses.

Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

A local photography friend sent me a link to the International Garden Photographer of the Year, which bills itself as “the world’s premier competition and exhibition specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography,” now in its 10th year. The competition works with Kew Gardens and the winners are...

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Posted by on April 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm   This post has one response.

Garden Redesign: Evaluate Everything and Have No Mercy

Guest Post by Wendy Kiang-Spray Usually, when I look out my kitchen window this time of year, I look forward to the delicate, pale purple-topped baptisia that will delight me for a few short weeks, or peony stems poking through whose stunning flowers I’ll stop daily to admire upon...

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Posted by Wendy Kiang-Spray on April 5, 2017 at 7:55 am   This post has 11 responses.

Wild Designer Makes “Beautiful Places for People to Love”

Rant readers know that we love Thomas Rainer’s work and his book Planting in a Post-Wild World (here’s Evelyn’s describing the aha’s she got from it), but there’s another game-changing landscape architect I hadn’t heard of til recently, one who may be having an even greater impact through her ginormous...

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Posted by on August 5, 2016 at 7:45 pm   This post has Comments Off on Wild Designer Makes “Beautiful Places for People to Love”.

Super bloom snapshot

Right now, sprinkled throughout sections of vast Death Valley National Park, are swaths of color standing out from the usual palette of faded greens, and soft grays and browns. A rare super bloom, the result of three unusual October rainstorms, (three inches of rain instead of an annual one...

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Posted by Nancy J. Parisi on March 14, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 6 responses.

Good Berry Bad Berry

Guest Post by Helen Yoest  As a curious gardener and a naturalist, I have always been intrigued by flashy berries hanging from the branches of trees and shrubs. There was a field next to our house where I grew up, and behind the field on one side of my...

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Posted by Helen Yoest on March 13, 2016 at 10:02 am   This post has 4 responses.

And then—finally—there was one

When we bought our house twenty-three years ago, what I knew about gardening would not have filled a seed packet. I did know early spring flowers were an antidote for winter blahs, so I planted a big sack of snowdrops under the sugar maple. The blooms would be visible...

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Posted by Joanna Brichetto on March 1, 2016 at 11:49 am   This post has 12 responses.

Trends I won’t be following this season

At this time of year, the inboxes of garden writers (and editors of any genre) are flooded with trend report and predictions of what people will be planting, buying, and installing in the coming season. Most of it is so silly that my delete finger doesn’t stop moving enough...

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Posted by on February 23, 2016 at 8:03 am   This post has 26 responses.