Japanese beetle courtesy of Shutterstock

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 final. Well, friends, ProfessorRoush had a […]

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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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Posted by on May 27, 2013 at 8:13 am   This post has 30 responses.

Plant Ideas Needed for Biodiverse Lawn

by Lawn  Reform Coalition Member Tom Christopher Like other members of the Lawn Reform Coalition, I believe that the contemporary model of lawn has got to go. It does have its virtues, though we critics tend to overlook them. For example, traditional lawn provides a relatively inexpensive and easy...

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm   This post has 34 responses.

When Food is Too Convenient for Our Own Good

Michael Pollan and Wendell Berry were in Louisville during the first week of May. They weren’t on the Derby celebrity runway that rainy day at Churchill Downs. That was left to Kid Rock, Smokey Robinson—among the few names I did know—plus dozens more B-list television, music and sports “stars”...

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Posted by on May 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm   This post has 7 responses.

Bedding Your Plants

Guest Rant by Geoff Lewis I would like to speak to the curious sport of bedding plants. Bedding plants – you know, big pansies, dwarf marigolds and their ilk. One’s vision is of an orgiastic colour melee: Vast flocks of the vegetative equivalent of Pekinese and/or Schitzu-Poodle crosses (schit-poos)...

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Posted by on April 30, 2013 at 10:09 am   This post has 11 responses.

The Run for the Roses is Really About Mint

Thousands of red tulips have been planted in the Churchill Downs paddock and winner’s circle for this year’s Kentucky Derby. They were shipped from Holland months ago.  Nearly 500 red roses will arrive from South America a few days before the race (the first Saturday in May) and be...

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Posted by on April 26, 2013 at 8:02 am   This post has 5 responses.

Wild Bee, I think I love you…*

Guest Rant by Will Raap   Honey bees and wild pollinators need your help and need it now. Gardeners know that good pollination makes for better crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and raspberries. And that’s especially true for certain commercial crops like almonds, which need to have 1 million honey...

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 at 7:26 am   This post has 5 responses.

Capture the lightning

On a recent afternoon, after a day and a half of strenuous garden work, Professor Roush quit working and took a number of photos to convince himself, and all of you, that spring was beginning in Kansas.  I was sidetracked, however, by the quick appearance of a small storm...

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 at 9:03 am   This post has 6 responses.

Pour Me Another Kentucky Coffeetree

When you think of plant hunting—Indiana Jones style—you usually think of faraway places. Throw in tall mountains, deep ravines, landslides and feuding warlords, and you might soon forget the plants. The story becomes more about the adventure. Andy Schmitz and Jeff Carstens haven’t been to China or India, but...

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Posted by on April 9, 2013 at 8:32 am   This post has 5 responses.

Here’s to No-Blow Gardens

Guest Rant by Evelyn Hadden Let’s face it, the outdoors is getting noisier, and not in a good way. It used to be that a person could find calm, quiet places even in the city — be it a park, a secluded backyard, or a low-traffic residential street. But...

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 at 6:55 am   This post has 57 responses.

Bugger Off, Stink Bugs

Armadillos have reached southern Kentucky, while the Asian longhorn beetle is poised just across the Ohio River in southern Ohio. Both are on the march to Louisville. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) got here first. Armadillos (possums on the half-shell) root around like feral hogs and make a...

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Posted by on March 18, 2013 at 9:48 am   This post has 9 responses.

Poetry for a Leaf Blower Nation

Guest Rants in Verse by Jennifer Martenson For Whom the Leaf Blower Blows Consumer grade cost cutters available in mildly indifferent and turbo screw all y’all models* shift the burden of debris faster than you can say externality *inline deregulators sold separately   Prélude à l’après-midi d’un leaf blower...

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Posted by on March 12, 2013 at 7:47 am   This post has 24 responses.
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