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Please Call them Vegetables–and a Giveaway!

  It started with the pigweed that came up in the rose pot on the edge of my terrace. I didn’t know it was pigweed (and even “pigweed” is problematic since the common name belongs to more than one plant). But eventually I whittled down the rose-invader’s ID to Amaranthus retroflexus, and that started me […]

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Read related articles in: Books, Drink This, Eat This, Feed Me, Guest Rants
Posted by on September 11, 2013 at 5:57 am   This post has 26 responses.

Golfland

I like stick-and-ball games as much as anybody else. Leaving the ball out entirely and just using the stick has panache, but bumps the odds of either an arrest or a visit to the hospital. Or both. Golf is unique among stick and ball games. Why? It has holes,...

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Posted by on September 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm   This post has 5 responses.

(Not So) Helpful Helpers in the Garden

Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray It was a casual and calm Sunday afternoon. My husband had just finished mowing the lawn and taking the trash out. He had a particularly energetic afternoon and if I recall, he’d taken some fallen branches to the curb too. He came in, fixed...

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Posted by on September 5, 2013 at 7:04 am   This post has 29 responses.

Weeds of Affection and Perpetual Annoyance

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” –Eeyore Mulberry weed is an unwelcome guest that I can’t shake loose. The trouble is: the Mulberry weed doesn’t travel alone. I’d like to get rid of them all, but there is no end to mulberry weed. In a...

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Posted by on August 29, 2013 at 7:22 am   This post has 18 responses.

Arrested Development

It’s a term that might best describe gardening in the South. It might best describe all things Southern, come to think of it … but that’s a topic for another blog. By arrested development, I mean that moment in time when forward movement and evolution stop. Just stop. In...

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Posted by David mcMullin on August 26, 2013 at 7:39 am   This post has 13 responses.

Knocked Out—and not in a good way

I suppose that I should have expected it. Once ‘Knock Out’ roses became ubiquitous in the suburban landscapes of America and moved beyond usefulness to cliché, I should have known that this paradigm-changing rose was inevitably destined to be even more misused, abused, and perverted; that it would be used in manners so hideous as to defy the imaginations...

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Posted by on August 19, 2013 at 7:39 am   This post has 33 responses.

Want your kids to play outside? Rip out the lawn!

Guest Rant by Pam Penick Lawns are for kids, right? After all, they need that big, green carpet to enjoy the outdoors. Would it be an exaggeration to say it borders on neglect not to keep a lawn for your children or grandchildren to play on? Some people think...

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 at 7:50 am   This post has 164 responses.

Smart Remarks from the Seasonal Department, or How to Not Get Promoted at the Big Box Retailer

Following years of selling to and then working for independent garden centers and landscapers, I went to work for a mass merchandizer – the seasonal department of Home Depot, the other half of the retail horticulture industry.  It was a great place to try out comedic patter, or just...

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Read related articles in: Guest Rants, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on August 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm   This post has 22 responses.

How Flora Grubb and an Airport DJ Saved My Soul

I never saw it coming. Flora Grubb, the pioneering urban gardener and style maven, convinced me—to my great relief—that the Millennial Generation is beginning to shop for plants. Meanwhile DJ Juice proved that airports needn’t be a gauntlet of unending insult. I’d never heard of Flora Grubb and might...

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Posted by on July 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm   This post has 12 responses.

See the Documentary “Wonder: The Lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard” if You Can

Anna and Harlan Hubbard may not be names familiar to most readers. But if you have ever thought dreamily of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment, forsaking the “slavery of time” and roughing it on Walden Pond, you might like to know a bit more about the Hubbards. For over 40...

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Posted by on July 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm   This post has 4 responses.

Japanese beetle traps—a reconsideration

To trap or not to trap? That is the million roses question, isn’t it?  Conventional wisdom holds that the use of Japanese beetle-specific traps will increase beetle damage on plants adjacent to the trap sites. You can find that “wisdom” repeated everywhere—on extension articles, Internet blogs, over and over, accepted and...

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Posted by on July 15, 2013 at 8:13 am   This post has 30 responses.

The Attack of the Himalayan Blackberry

I’ve almost staunched the bleeding. The crimson crosshatches etched across my forearms don’t sting much, but they look impressive.  I was just practicing some close quarter combat with that tasty rascal of the Pacific Northwest, perhaps our yummiest weed, nature’s barbed wire, your friend and mine: the Himalayan Blackberry!...

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Posted by on July 11, 2013 at 7:23 am   This post has 12 responses.

The Rigors of Chiggers

Some of you had cotton balls stuffed in your ears this past month, deafening the sound of droning cicadas.  But relax.  They will be gone soon for another 17 years. Chiggers, meanwhile, are my unwelcome garden guests. The name copperhead sounds menacing, as does black widow, while chigger sounds...

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Posted by on July 4, 2013 at 10:06 am   This post has 9 responses.

Don’t engineers even grow tomatoes?

Guest Rant by Rebecca Caley The tomato plants are so thick and sturdy, nothing can bring them down.  That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.  Never trust a tomato.  Their goal is to reproduce by getting rotten tomatoes on the ground.  They will fight the trellis, the cage,...

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Posted by on July 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm   This post has 54 responses.

The Fortress Look in Deer Fencing

Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray I mean, I get it…but I don’t really get it. The lawn is meticulously manicured, the stonework beautiful, and within the lovely iron garden gate (topped by an additional 4 feet of deer netting), the lilies are tall and happy, the shrubs lush and...

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Posted by on June 28, 2013 at 9:32 am   This post has 36 responses.

No Bad Yards

Guest Rant by Rebecca Sullivan I was just reading Billy Goodnick’s guest post, and I have to confess that by the end of it, I found myself annoyed. What bothered me is something that bothers me about a lot of garden writing, and that’s this element of judgment, that...

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Posted by on June 27, 2013 at 6:24 am   This post has 22 responses.

Good Yard or Bad Yard? Garden Design Pitfalls

“If someone visiting your yard asks, ‘Did you do that on purpose?’ your yard needs help.” That’s the first sentence on page 40 of my book, and one of my favorites. I told the Rant-ettes I wouldn’t abuse my privilege as guest blogger to flog you with flagrant come-ons...

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Posted by on June 20, 2013 at 8:32 am   This post has 24 responses.

A Stump Story

I was stumped. I had been hacking and levering at a small stump for about a paragraph of swearwords. I would have sat down to rest and ponder upon the stump stumping me but the miserable relic was too small and had numerable jutting sawed-off points. I think the...

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Posted by on June 11, 2013 at 11:55 am   This post has 12 responses.

Bless All Parks Big and Small

There is a friendly dispute going on about who has the smallest…umm…park. That’s a big deal. In the U.S., Portland’s Mill Ends Park lays claim to the Lilliputian prize (2’ in diameter), but a challenge has come from Prince’s Park (15’ x 30’) in Burntwood, England. “Wait a minute,”...

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Posted by on June 6, 2013 at 8:24 am   This post has 11 responses.

Purple leaves me crabby

Please listen to ProfessorRoush:  you must plan your garden carefully rather than submit to the whims of spontaneous plant purchases and spectacular momentary blooms!  Science suggests that in an infinite number of parallel universes, almost anything can happen. I’m sure, therefore, that somewhere out in the gardening universe, there exists a gardener who plans...

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Read related articles in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 27, 2013 at 8:13 am   This post has 30 responses.
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