Everybody's a Critic, Taking Your Gardening Dollar

Jerry Baker’s Quackery Lives On

Jerry Baker, the self-styled “America’s Master Gardener” and highly successful huckster for home-remedy books and products died in March of this year at the age of 85. I was curious to see how the gardening world would note his passing, especially those who attacked his teachings, some repeatedly. I myself started attacking Baker’s advice on […]

Posted by  on September 22, 2017 at 7:19 am.   This post has 4 responses.

Famously secret spaces

What do Jeremy Irons and Ozzy Osbourne have in common? We know they’re Brits, so the answer shouldn’t be that hard: both own and maintain beautiful countryside gardens in England. So do Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rupert Everett, and Sting. And if you want something completely different, visit Terry and...

Read more in: Books
Posted by on September 20, 2017 at 10:55 am

Gardening Podcast Update

I’m thrilled to report that since 2010, when I complained about there being only two gardening podcasts on my little iPod, there are now many more and their quality is amazing! Here’s what I’m listening to now. Cultivating Place by Jennifer Jewell originates on National Public Radio, so its high...

Read more in: GardenRant Airwaves
Posted by on September 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

In Praise of a Plant That Needs Your Love

  Diarrhena americana. The Latin name doesn’t inspire lustful desire does it? What a pity. It’s better than its name. I remember the moment I first came across this native grass. I had no idea what its name was when I was introduced. But Rick Lewandowski knew the name...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 13, 2017 at 8:14 am

From green to brown in the Caribbean

If you want to get a dramatic sense of hurricane Irma’s worst devastation, visit this site, which offers before/after satellite images of the Caribbean islands that were in her path. It’s not just the debris, flattened infrastructure, and—most terrible—deaths. These islands seem to have lost the lush green landscapes...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

HGTV Stars – Where are They Now?

I learned to garden lo these many years ago from two sources – good magazines and good shows on HGTV, back when it had them. (Gardeners love to complain about the missing G from the channel and this year that’s truer than ever, judging from their new shows and episodes where...

Read more in: Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on September 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Milllennials love houseplants? Yay!

And it’s interesting, because I’m learning this just as I’ve begun to feel kind of blasé about my houseplants. I still have plenty, but I maintain them without as much interest as I used to—I get much more excited about my indoor bulb forcing projects, which fill the house...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Apple Hunting Season

This is the time of year when I start scouting for apple trees.  Neglected, venerable trees full of fruit that nobody wants.  Not shiny, red, and flawless, ready to be popped into a lunch box.  Nor even the big, sweet fruits bred for baking.  The apples I want can...

Read more in: Drink This
Posted by on September 4, 2017 at 4:55 am

Robert Frost Needed Better Neighbors

So maybe it was Robert Frost. That whole “Mending Wall’ thing: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. I read that poem 1,000 times as a...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on September 1, 2017 at 4:51 am

The botany behind the fantasy

It’s a good (and rare) morning when my twelve-minute commute yields two news stories in a row that make me smile. That happened today. The first one has no gardening relevance, but the second has special interest for both gardeners and Tolkien fans. Botanist Walter Judd has published a...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on August 31, 2017 at 9:17 am

The Pin Oak vs. Statues of Dead White Men

Since the tragic weekend in Charlottesville, I have wondered why so few people have paid so little attention to trees. Much attention has been given to the argument about whether statues of Confederate soldiers should remain, be removed or re-located. A fallen tree here, another tree removed there. So what?...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 30, 2017 at 8:39 am

Monty Don’s 80 Plant Cultures of the World

Monty Don has been getting an unusual amount of attention lately in the U.S., thanks to his provocative article “There’s no point trying to convince millennials to garden. Nobody wants to hear that but I suspect he’s right. So who IS this guy? Here’s a quick bio on BBC...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People, Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on August 23, 2017 at 3:41 pm

All Maters Matter

Guest Ranter Ralph Haas, and his Kailua Farm partners, had a goal of winning a ribbon at the Kentucky State Fair last week. They had one problem. They couldn’t pull together five red tomatoes between them. Ralph wrote a letter of explanation that was submitted with their fair entry....

Read more in: Eat This, Guest Rants, What's Happening
Posted by Ralph Haas on August 23, 2017 at 7:10 am

Hands off the hydrangeas

Thanks to plentiful rain and other friendly conditions, this is the summer of the Hydrangea in the Northeast, at least as far as I’ve observed. Huge stands of paniculata, macrophylla, and arborescens varieties are blooming profusely. My neighbor’s pink macrophylla blooms are easily a foot in circumference; it’s amazing...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on August 22, 2017 at 8:58 am

GWA/Buffalo Take-Aways

Buffalo! Time for a debrief after attending the Garden Writers annual shindig held in Buffalo this year – to the delight of anyone who’s been there in the last decade or so and the apprehension of anyone who hasn’t. Yeah, Buffalo had lots of doubters, but boy did that...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on August 18, 2017 at 7:48 am

Rant from the road: resort horticulture

Vacations are always busmens’ holidays for gardeners. Whether it’s a tropical paradise, a stateside resort, or a European capital, gardeners can’t help but notice what’s planted, where it’s planted, and how well it’s designed. We don’t actually work on the gardens where we stay, but we’re doing it in...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on August 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm

John Oliver Discovers the One and Only Ciscoe Morris

I love this! So does the Seattle Times.

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on August 15, 2017 at 10:27 am

Corner Makeover: Before and One Year Later

Readers may have noticed I’m an obsessive-compulsive garden-maker, not happy with making and tending just the townhouse garden I now own.  I showed you one example recently – the town center garden I adopted in May of this year. Boy, did it need some love. Next up, another highly visible bit...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on August 11, 2017 at 8:58 am

An annual philosophy

Certain plants exude a message of “Don’t worry, be happy.” Others continually whine, “Maintain me!” In my garden, the easiest plants I grow are the tropical or semitropicals. They require virtually nothing, much like their brethren in my office. Once in a while, I’ll cut down a dead leaf...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on August 10, 2017 at 9:40 am

Perennially Yours: Steve Still

Garden Rant contributor Bob Hill came to my 60th surprise birthday party some years ago. After a few glasses of wine, he said, “Look around. All of these friends will be at your funeral.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or pray. I have thought about Bob’s prophetic words...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on August 9, 2017 at 7:23 am