Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling

Goodbye, and thanks for your service

Trees are suffering. First, there are the pests; among the most current are the emerald ash borer, the mountain pine beetle, and the wooly aldegid. Then there are the ravages of fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters; it was awful to see the defoliation in the Caribbean earlier this year (though growing conditions there should […]

Posted by  on November 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm.   This post has no responses.

Video: Best-Performing Native Plants in my Garden

These days we’re all paying more attention to beneficial wildlife in our gardens, and to that end, looking for good native plants to grow. But which ones? Those official lists of state or regional natives don’t really help the aspiring eco-gardener make their choices. So many of the listed...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on November 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

It’s a Mast Year

Ever heard of a “mast year?” I hadn’t until we moved to our cottage on the Eastern Shore. That was June.  In early September, it started. Artillery fire. Lying in bed in our loft, with no attic to buffer us, it was like the London blitz—except with acorns. The...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Sandra Gaffigan on November 14, 2017 at 9:37 am

Can these Junipers be Saved?

My latest gardening obsession is making over the landscape in front of my housing co-op offices, where the top priority is to do something about the overgrown junipers. Planted too close to the sidewalk and doors, they’d been sheared back, which caused much unsightly needle-browning. The problem wasn’t just...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on November 10, 2017 at 8:20 am

A Glimpse of a Lunatic’s Garden

I don’t know anyone on this planet, or galaxy, with more runaway enthusiasm for gardening than Jamie Dockery. And that’s not all. Besides his rabid determination to grow anything with chlorophyll, Jamie also raises little cows, little goats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, and tends an aviary with finches and canaries—all...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Gardening on the Planet, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on November 8, 2017 at 7:58 am

Our annual long-range forecast rant

And this time, it’s from a guest ranter, artist/writer Bruce Adams. Though his rant is region-specific, this could apply anywhere. The science of weather forecasting has grown in sophistication over the years. Various forecasters now predict general weather conditions for whole seasons. And the good news is, there’s a...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants
Posted by Bruce Adams on November 7, 2017 at 11:17 am

Are Images of Gardeners in the Media Finally Improving?

My recent rant about stereotypes of gardeners in a new play got me thinking about the images of gardeners used in advertising and elsewhere. The garden-club-competing gardeners in the play typify the demographic so often used to portray us – white and elderly.   More of the same can...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on November 3, 2017 at 8:55 am

Still crazy after fourteen years

Pre-blog, my garden practice gets lost in the fog of history. I know I started gardening seriously in 1999, when we bought property, but I am not quite sure exactly what I was doing month by month until 2005, when I started documenting it with a blog. And that’s...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on October 31, 2017 at 10:22 am

A Back Porch Recipe for Peace

Gardening offers me an outside recipe for inner peace, or at least the opportunity to go hide on our screened-in back porch and ponder the meaning of life, mortality and the furrowed bark and brilliant fall colors of our three-flowered maple. I look out, and the pink and white...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 30, 2017 at 8:15 am

Dueling Gardeners on Stage

Though not a big theater-goer, I HAD to see the comedy  “Native  Gardens” when it played in DC because it’s about next-door neighbors representing different demographics and attitudes toward gardening. I’ll admit that I laughed, but the stereotypes in the play – of people and of plants – bugged me no...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on October 27, 2017 at 8:30 am

There’s fall color—and fall color

Every day on my way to work, I always look at a certain house, just before I make my final turn. It is the one vibrant spot of color on a block, which, though perfectly nice, is typified by sedate, small front lawns and a few foundation plantings. But...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 26, 2017 at 10:02 am

Waiting for Camus

Albert Camus nearly got it right when he wrote: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is in flower.” The French philosopher didn’t clutter a good line with what really blossoms in autumn for many gardeners. In practical terms, with cooler temperatures, the weeds wind down. This year,...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on October 25, 2017 at 7:47 am

Discovering Sally Fox, Legendary Cotton Breeder

At my town’s film festival last weekend I met a filmmaker just out of USC film school whose masters project had been accepted by (and then won an award from) the festival. The short film – True Colors by Bethann Morgan – is the scripted true story of Sally...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 20, 2017 at 9:44 am

Erasing nature

“acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow.” These are the words that have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. “attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 17, 2017 at 10:40 am

The Case Against Earthworms

When I dug in my Berkshire garden this summer I found a host of earthworms.  That, it turns out, is bad. I was raised to regard earthworms as the gardener’s best friend.  It’s true, these benevolent creatures (or so I regarded them then) aerate the soil with their tunnels...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on October 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

Landscape Architect Wins MacArthur Genius Award

Nice news this week via Brad McKee, editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine, who writes: Kate Orff, ASLA, became the first landscape architect to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, which carries a $625,000 award over five years for “originality, insight, and potential.” Orff was among 24 fellows named by the foundation today, who also included...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 13, 2017 at 8:18 am

Ask Your Budtender First

  I went to a legal pot dispensary in Denver this summer. Marijuana, you’ve no doubt heard, is a hot commodity in Colorado. The dispensary reminded me of the Long Branch Saloon on the long-playing television series Gunsmoke (1955-1975). Miss Kitty traded gossip in the saloon with U.S. Marshall...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, What's Happening
Posted by on October 11, 2017 at 8:19 am

Closing edicts

Lessons learned from the 2017 gardening season (so far): Never again: Morning glory (convolvulus): The central mission of this (gorgeous) blue cultivar seemed to be to envelope every plant within its reach, while making sure to release as few flowers as possible in the process. The blooms, when they...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 10, 2017 at 11:23 am

The Gardens (and More) of Asbury Park, NJ

When I go to the beach it’s in the spring or fall, and even in glorious weather like we’re enjoying this week, I don’t really lie on the beach. As a plantaholic, I gravitate toward nearby gardens and plant-filled natural areas instead. There the blogger in me takes over,...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 5, 2017 at 7:40 am

A Few Timely Points About Growing Trees

I’ve finally gotten around to reading a book called The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. My wife gave it to me as a birthday present a few years ago, hoping it would better inform my drinking. But in a move reminiscent of Jeff Bridge’s version of Rooster Cogburn, I bellowed...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants
Posted by Scott Beuerlein on October 4, 2017 at 8:03 am