Real Gardens

Wildlife Encounters

I’ve posted before on this blog about the attraction of wildlife tracking in the garden.  Garden wildlife, I noted then, reminds me of teenagers – the critters eat distressingly huge meals then typically leave without communicating about what they have been up to or what their plans are. Reading the tracks is the only way […]

Posted by  on June 19, 2017 at 9:30 am.   This post has one response.

Flingers, First Trip to DC?

Gardening get-togethers like the Garden Blogger Fling and Garden Writer events are the best possible ways to see great private gardens, and the Fling attendees coming to the Washington, D.C. area next weekend will see lots of them. But like Elizabeth, when I visit a city that’s new to me...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on June 16, 2017 at 8:45 am

A Gardening Education: Alberta and Omer

  While I wait for my first social security check to arrive later this month, I have been thinking about two crucial mentors. Alberta Coleman and Omer Barber fostered my gardening career. They were as different as a peony and a prickly pear. I volunteered to work with Alberta...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on June 14, 2017 at 7:22 am

Ask not for whom the lily beetle tolls

Finally, they’re here. For at least 5 years, now, I have been hearing tales of destruction and dire prophecies from friends and garden visitors who live to the east and northeast of Buffalo. “Do you have the lily beetle yet? They’re everywhere in (Rochester/New England/Ithaca, etc.). I don’t grow...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on June 13, 2017 at 10:16 am

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....

Read more in: Who's Ranting About Us
Posted by on June 9, 2017 at 7:57 am

Garden show-offs and lawn proselytizing at a DC museum

Here’s one item not on the agenda for this month’s Garden Blogger’s Fling in Washington, DC, but I don’t plan to miss it: “Cultivating America’s Gardens,” at the National Museum of American History in Washington. It opened last month and is on view through August 2018, so there’s plenty...

Read more in: Public Gardens, Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on June 8, 2017 at 7:51 am

Take the Sting Out with Nutritious Nettles

My daughter, Molly, decided to harvest nettles on our farm in Salvisa last year. I wondered, Why? I must have been lost in the woods. Suddenly, more herbalists are singing the praises of stinging nettles. Urtica dioica is loaded with vitamins and minerals and is also a valuable, anti-inflammatory, weedy...

Read more in: Eat This, What's Happening
Posted by on June 7, 2017 at 7:35 am

Natives – A Moving Target?

  There was a certain irony in the timing, given America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.  Still, last week was the time when a group of Master Gardeners had asked me to give them a lecture about the possible effects on gardening of global climate change – and...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says, Uncategorized
Posted by on June 5, 2017 at 11:46 am

Beach Landscape Hits and Misses

Some people go to the beach to enjoy the ocean. I do that (a bit) but mostly find myself looking at plants, at gardens. So in late May I walked down the boardwalk at Rehoboth, Delaware  and stopped to admire the cedar-shake homes and especially the windswept plants that look just...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on June 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

But not for me

Some plants are just untouchable, iconic. Lilacs are among those plants. They’re immortalized in poetry, like “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Or glorious in cities, as in Rochester’s lilac festival or New York’s Cloisters. Yet, I removed two large lilacs from my property within two years of...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on June 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

A Whole Different Spin on Pot Planting

There have been very few opportunities for even the most avid of gardeners to plant bright red geraniums in an old, gray washing machine tub, so pay attention to this one. The story begins almost 45 years ago as Bob and Janet Hill, garden neophytes whose possessions included two...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on May 29, 2017 at 9:48 am

Where Leaders for Public Gardens Come From

Last week I showed off my favorite views in Chanticleer Garden from a recent visit, promising a second post about the “good and important work that Chanticleer does.” So I’m back to spread the word about the behind-the-gorgeous-gardens stuff that goes on there, good works I had no notion...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on May 26, 2017 at 8:17 am

Once more in Buffalo—this time for the GWA

Those of you who belong to the Garden Writers Association know that its annual conference happens in Buffalo August 4–7. Here’s a video our local tourism agency and (the group that runs Garden Walk) made to help lure the conference. Not that it took much convincing. Many GWAers...

Read more in: Garden Walk Buffalo, Real Gardens
Posted by on May 25, 2017 at 9:41 am

The Mysterious Case of the Orange Petunia

  If you’re growing an orange petunia this summer, you may be one of the lucky ones. Or the afflicted ones. Orangish petunias were taken off the market several weeks ago, in Europe, when a Finnish watchdog agency, Evira, announced they had discovered that the summer flowering annual had...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on May 24, 2017 at 8:02 am

Chanticleer, the Modern Gardener’s Garden

Serious gardeners love to hate Butchart Gardens, Canada’s most famous public garden, and I’ll cop to being one of the haters. It’s blindingly colorful and the very opposite of naturalistic, the gardening style popular today. I wonder if people who love the Butchart style could also appreciate a very modern, sophisticated,...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on May 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

Crazy petunias—what do we think?

Sometimes, I look at my Facebook feed to get inspiration for a post, and this morning yielded a pretty good batch. Peat moss! Back in the news. Oh, here’s a lame tulip video I made back in 2009 (won’t be resharing that). And—this just in, breaking news: according to...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 16, 2017 at 9:07 am

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...

Read more in: CRRRITIC
Posted by on May 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

Backyard Labyrinths Trending?

Labyrinths are on the rise, especially at schools and churches, but ones in home gardens like this will never catch on, I predict. That’s because it needs weekly careful mowing, plus frequent pre-edging, so it’s definitely a high-maintenance item. And there’s the expense, too – this one cost $13,000!...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on May 12, 2017 at 9:16 am

Always Dreaming

Long lines at the betting window last weekend were not my concern. I piddled around on Derby Day at home—on the couch and in the garden. I dodged rain showers outside, while inside I sidestepped heavy grazing on beef tenderloin, country ham, corn pudding and my niece’s cookies. I...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, What's Happening
Posted by on May 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

When trees come in handy

In our part of the world (and a lot of other places), the weather news has been simple: pouring rain, day in and day out. It just started to let up over the weekend. Rain is supposed to be good news for gardeners, but you’d never know it from...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on May 9, 2017 at 8:51 am