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.

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.

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.

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.

Sticker shock

Raise your hand if you enjoy spending up to half an hour removing adhesive stickers from ceramic pots. No hands up? What a surprise. I have upgraded my game a bit for bulb forcing and no longer use the cheap (but not unattractive) Home Depot pots. One thing I’ll...

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Posted by on December 15, 2015 at 7:25 am   This post has 9 responses.

Making my peace with poinsettias

As you can  imagine, many of my most passionate rants are years in the past, back when we started. You can only inveigh against lawn culture, shake your fist against Big Chem, or rage about cheap resin statuary so many times. Then there the things I’ve ranted against that...

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Posted by on December 1, 2015 at 9:03 am   This post has 20 responses.

NWF’s terrible, no-good gardening advice goes viral

Somehow, the National Wildlife Federation’s 2014 blog post “Leave the Leaves for Wildlife” has gone viral this year, and not just on the Internet. Its popular chore-relieving advice is being repeated widely on television, too. Unfortunately, this part of the NWF’s advice hasn’t gone viral – the qualifier: A leaf...

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Posted by on November 13, 2015 at 9:23 am   This post has 38 responses.

A houseplant whisperer

Once again, writer Tovah Martin, author of The New Terrarium (reviewed here in 2009), goes where many gardeners fear to tread—within the confines of the average centrally heated American home. This is the threshold that—for many gardeners—forms an impenetrable barrier. “Plant cultivation stops here” may as well be on...

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Posted by on October 26, 2015 at 8:00 am   This post has 6 responses.

Fans of Garden Design Magazine

Here I am with everyone’s favorite landscape architect Thomas Rainer before he and Claudia West spoke about their book Planting in a Post-Wild World  yesterday in Oxford, Maryland. (Book review and giveaway coming this Friday). But today’s post is about the new+improved Garden Design Magazine, about which Thomas used these words:...

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Posted by on September 28, 2015 at 9:18 am   This post has 10 responses.

Worth the wait—Girl Waits with Gun

She kills me. As Garden Rant co-founder Amy Stewart moves into longform fiction, she demonstrates again her powers to surprise, entertain, and inform. Stewart’s latest book, Girl Waits with Gun, is a period adventure novel based on a 1914-15 true story—that of one of America’s first female deputy sheriffs....

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Posted by on August 18, 2015 at 9:14 am   This post has 3 responses.

Stellaaaaa!

Sometimes even ProfessorRoush tires of his opinions, his interminable rants about disease or weeds or flower color or poor performance that keep him from enjoying the garden.  Is it really necessary to constantly pontificate about whether this rose is better than that one, or how one grass is a thug,...

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Posted by on July 7, 2015 at 8:00 am   This post has 7 responses.

Don’t go see “A Little Chaos” for the gardens

A movie about the gardens of Versailles starring Kate Winslet opens today! Imagine my excitement when one of the many publicists who contacted me about it invited me to a free screening. It’s titled A Little Chaos and here’s the synopsis: “A romantic drama following Sabine, a talented landscape designer, who is...

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Posted by on June 26, 2015 at 7:54 am   This post has 23 responses.

LANDSCAPE SNARK-ITECHT!!!

Okay, this is a RANT. For some reason, colleagues always want to introduce me as a Landscape Architect – and I always correct them. I am a Garden Designer, and proud of it. I don’t even like the title “Landscape Designer” – I think “Landscape Designers” want to separate...

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Posted by on April 29, 2015 at 1:12 am   This post has 45 responses.

What Makes Cities Attractive, and our Intellectual Confusion about Beauty

Pertinent to our discussions here of garden criticism – right or wrong – enjoy this video by architecture writer Alain de Botton.  At about 11:15 he gets to the “first obstacle to beautiful cities” – the intellectually confused position that no one has the right to say what’s pretty...

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Posted by on March 14, 2015 at 7:58 am   This post has 4 responses.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Chunky Gravel And Indifferently Chosen Plants

**Trigger Warning*** This is a rant, and the images that follow may be unpleasant to some. They certainly are to ME. A bit of background to set the stage: Los Angeles is in a severe drought. Considering the fact that Los Angeles is a city built in a desert...

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Posted by on February 24, 2015 at 11:00 pm   This post has 63 responses.

Inside Outside

  Holy Sissinghurst, Batman!!! There is a way of making gardens that I feel has run its course. It has reached its zenith, its apex, its apotheosis. It can go no further. It has gone far enough. Too far. I speak of the Outdoor Room. Let me be clear....

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Posted by on January 28, 2015 at 10:33 am   This post has 29 responses.

Forcing Winter Interest

I have been thinking about Elizabeth’s post on The Myth of Winter Interest. Having spent 25+ years in Minnesota, and recently moved halfway across the country to (among other things) escape the relentless northern winter, I do identify with the urge to focus only on the indoor world during...

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Posted by on January 7, 2015 at 7:46 am   This post has 19 responses.

The Monsters Among Us

Happy Halloween. I hope to really scare you. Because there ARE monsters. There are things that are truly frightening in our world, and we gardeners are on the front lines, either fighting these forces of evil, or being victimized by them. OR, we stand by and do nothing… and...

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Posted by on October 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm   This post has 76 responses.

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,...

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Posted by on September 8, 2014 at 8:45 am   This post has 6 responses.

Judging

All I could think about was how defenseless—even pathetic—the flowers looked in their little bud vases. As I walked among them, they presented a bewildering array of colors and shapes—spheres, spikes, sprays, buds, gnarly tangles, full blooms. And then there were mixed containers of herbs and even a few...

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Posted by on August 12, 2014 at 9:52 am   This post has 12 responses.