Helleborus foetidus, Shutterstock

Rosemary Up the Ass and the Stinking Hellebore

  Mary Vaananen, a Jelitto Perennial Seeds colleague, emailed sad news on my first day in Florence, Italy. Judith Tyler had died. Jude was a longtime friend. She and her husband, Dick, grew hellebores at their Pine Knot Farms in Clarksville, Virginia. For the next two days, I staggered around Florence with jet lag and few […]

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Posted by on April 13, 2016 at 7:04 am   This post has 8 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 one response.

My Granddaughter and I Take On Johnny Appleseed

As a young boy, I would have chosen a gumdrop tree over an apple tree any day. Baked apples, applesauce and candied apples were my answer to An Apple a Day. Any apple coated with sugar was worth sampling. My mother would throw a fresh apple into my lunch...

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Posted by on February 10, 2016 at 8:06 am   This post has 19 responses.

Home-Canned Tomatoes: A Tantalizing Taste of Nature in Winter

You may remember I’m an ultra-beginner at canning. Luckily, I am learning from my sister, who has spent years learning from others and experimenting to perfect her own techniques. Not to mention she has a large kitchen stocked with all the necessary equipment. So I give you Ultra-Beginner Tip...

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Posted by on February 3, 2016 at 2:09 am   This post has 12 responses.

Protein from the Garden

If you’re wanting to cut meat from your diet or reduce your consumption of it, for health reasons or environmental ones, you might have wondered if you can then turn to your garden for some of your daily protein intake. Your garden can supply a surprisingly diverse array of...

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Posted by on December 2, 2015 at 4:36 am   This post has 7 responses.

Scouting for cider apples

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, there are plenty of neglected apple trees, trees planted by optimistic home landscapers and then more or less abandoned when the owners learned that producing blemish-free fruit requires a strict regimen of sprayings.  Blemish-free fruit isn’t necessary for cider-making, of course, and...

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Posted by on October 15, 2015 at 7:02 am   This post has 2 responses.

Historic Flavors of Fall

Once upon a time, cider-making, not football was the fall preoccupation throughout much of this country.  Wherever apples grew – and thanks to pioneering nurserymen like John Chapman that included much of the Midwest and upper South as well as the Northeast and Pacific Northwest – the fruit was...

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Posted by on October 1, 2015 at 7:03 am   This post has 10 responses.

Way Down Yonder in the Blue Ribbon Pawpaw Patch

Tony Joe White’s Poke Salad Annie couldn’t change my mind about pawpaws. Nor about what deserves recognition as the best native plant song of all time. Nothing against pokeweed, but over the years, I’ve grown partial to pawpaws. Once you’ve found yonder, and a pawpaw patch, there is no...

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Posted by on September 9, 2015 at 7:44 am   This post has 15 responses.

My Hot and Spicy Adventures, or She’s On Fire!

I HAVE A HEAT TOOTH!!! Not a sweet tooth, a HEAT TOOTH! I love hot peppers. I have been honing my tolerance for heat for a few years now, and at this point I can take a bite out of a habañero and not pass out or vomit. It...

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Posted by on August 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm   This post has 9 responses.

Could a weed be the next kale?

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Posted by on July 10, 2015 at 7:23 am   This post has 3 responses.

Grow your own?

What do gardening and Japanese anime culture have in common? There are probably a number of strange intersections, but this is the only one I know about. And it’s weird. The Ripe Boyfriend Cultivation Set home gardening kits ask us to imagine vegetables and herbs as sexy young men....

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Posted by on April 20, 2015 at 8:00 am   This post has 2 responses.

Treasure the Winter Farmer’s Market

My heart goes out to urban dwellers with no access to a winter Farmer’s Market. Just as the twinkle lights on trees and houses offer comforting pinpoints of light in the dark winter nights, farm stands with freshly made products remind us that good local foods (not to mention...

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Posted by on December 17, 2014 at 12:50 am   This post has 11 responses.

New Roots is Planting Seeds of Change for Refugees in America

Guest post by Kimberly Bryant What difference can a garden make? To newly arrived refugees in America, the answer is plenty. It’s no secret that gardening is a pleasant way for the average person to get in touch with nature, but it holds an even deeper meaning for those...

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Posted by Kimberly Bryant on November 27, 2014 at 7:53 am   This post has 3 responses.

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...

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Posted by Amanda Morris on August 28, 2014 at 6:41 am   This post has 19 responses.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Compost?

Guest Rant by Amy Campion  If we gardeners agree on anything, it’s that compost is wonderful stuff.  We can never have enough of it.  We make it ourselves in heaps and bins and barrels, and we ask for more of it on our birthdays.  Compost makes clay soil loosen...

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Posted by Amy Campion on July 22, 2014 at 8:05 am   This post has 20 responses.

A Growing Trend in the U.S.: Food Forests

Upstart food forests — designed landscapes incorporating perennial and woody plants that produce food — are popping up around the US, inspired no doubt by Seattle’s new Beacon Hill Food Forest as well as successful older sites including Mercy Emily Edible Park on 18 vacant lots in Philadelphia and...

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Posted by on July 16, 2014 at 2:01 am   This post has 12 responses.

Man vs. tree

Why do people hate and fear trees?  It seems incredible, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support such a bizarre conclusion. During a recent afternoon at my regular salon, the owner told me about an encounter with a neighbor. She has a large elm tree in the back...

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Posted by on June 30, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 24 responses.

From Organic-Only to Big-Picture Sustainability

I recommend a fascinating article in Wednesday’s Food Section of the Washington Post this week: “Organic standards fight over synthetics  shows there’s room for a third system,” starting with the news that proposed broadening of organic standards brought out the protesters at a recent meeting, and the police had to...

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Posted by on June 20, 2014 at 11:03 am   This post has 16 responses.

Kentucky King of Taros

  Poi, a traditional edible starch of the tropics, made from the ground corms of taro, can’t keep up with its popular starchy rivals—potato, corn and rice. But its ornamental qualities have come out of the shadows in the last ten years. The tropical plant, commonly known as elephant...

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Posted by on May 14, 2014 at 6:38 am   This post has 9 responses.

Who’s Eating Our Orchard?

Delayed almost a month by an unusually cold and prolonged winter, our friend Gini–an avid arborist– arrived the other day to give us our first lesson in orchard pruning. We were anxious to begin work on the more than 100 young fruit trees we acquired when we bought our...

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Posted by on March 28, 2014 at 8:05 am   This post has 18 responses.
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