What's Happening

3 Examples of a Pro-Science Movement in Gardening – Are There More?

The press release below touts a “New Pro-Science Movement in Gardening” based on the popularity of the Garden Professors, the curation project Good Gardening Videos, and the Garden Writers Association’s new science-writing award. Know of any more examples? Or on the contrary, do you know of any blowback from an anti-science faction in the gardening […]

Posted by  on April 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm.   This post has no responses.

I hate being a gardening know-it-all

And the funny thing is that I’m really not. I’m not a master gardener, a CNLP, or any kind of horticultural professional. I’m just a writer/editor who loves to garden, geek out on gardening books, and keep up with new ways of thinking about traditional garden practice. And, yes,...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on April 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

Olfactory Overload

I’ve been spending more time of late wandering our eight-acre landscape both because after 42 years here I keep finding old plants I too often overlook, and, more important, the chances are very slim I’ll find an aircraft carrier either on its way to Australia or North Korea. Gardening...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by on April 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm

The Wrong Way to Teach Eco-Friendly Gardening

I recently attended a “Green Yards and Gardens” talk in my town. The intern giving the talk was more knowledgeable than I expected, but the topics covered were no surprise: natives, invasives, pesticides, composting, and rain barrels, the usual bullet points. Afterward I asked some attendees I knew how...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on April 21, 2017 at 8:05 am

Pollen, Politics and Doomsday Prep

I’ve been a careless victim of too many late nights in my past, but knocking back shots of Bourbon into the wee hours did not redden my eyes this spring. Pollen is the culprit. The warm late winter and early spring brought flowers into bloom earlier than usual. And...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on April 19, 2017 at 7:28 am

Garden variety hellebores are still the best

Like many shade gardeners, I am in love with hellebores. They start flowering in March (or earlier) and some stay in bloom right into May. Deer, though not a problem for me, hate them; it’s easy to figure out why—just grab a handful of the plant’s sharp, raspy foliage....

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on April 18, 2017 at 9:12 am

Starting from Seed

Real gardeners, compulsive gardeners, are up to their elbows in seedlings this time of year.  We (I qualify at least as compulsive) have a number of rationales for starting from seed. To begin with, it’s economical, the only way we can afford all the plants we want.  For the...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig, Uncategorized
Posted by on April 17, 2017 at 8:31 am

Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

A local photography friend sent me a link to the International Garden Photographer of the Year, which bills itself as “the world’s premier competition and exhibition specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography,” now in its 10th year. The competition works with Kew Gardens and the winners are...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on April 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

The One and Only Poison Ivy Horticulturist

Superman was the most thrilling comic book hero of my boyhood. “Look… Up in the sky…It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!” I felt better knowing that good would conquer evil—eventually. Now, J.J. Burkman and the “team of horticulturalists-turned-heroes are fighting an evil villain named Heart Root and...

Read more in: Science Says, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on April 12, 2017 at 8:07 am

Sorry, no seeds—or cereal—for me, GM

Full disclosure: I have a relationship with Cheerios. On any given morning, when I step out into the garden, a pleasant smell, kind of like baking, is often lightly wafting through the air. It’s coming from the General Mills plant down at the waterfront. It started making Cheerios as...

Read more in: Feed Me, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on April 11, 2017 at 7:41 am

Eye Candy from a Famous Spanish Designer

In my 40+ years in the DC area, I’ve been invited to very few embassy functions. It was thanks to my garden writing that the Embassy of Spain invited me to a recent event at Dumbarton Oaks – so right there, count me IN, almost no matter the topic. But...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on April 7, 2017 at 8:33 am

Garden Redesign: Evaluate Everything and Have No Mercy

Guest Post by Wendy Kiang-Spray Usually, when I look out my kitchen window this time of year, I look forward to the delicate, pale purple-topped baptisia that will delight me for a few short weeks, or peony stems poking through whose stunning flowers I’ll stop daily to admire upon...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Real Gardens
Posted by Wendy Kiang-Spray on April 5, 2017 at 7:55 am

Clean water? Fresh air? Unspoiled national parks? Science? Who needs ’em?

After appointing what are essentially bizzaro-world choices to lead the EPA, and other government offices that might affect the natural environment, the current administration has removed key  protections through executive order and plans to get rid of many more through upcoming budget changes. The done deals include allowing coal...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on April 4, 2017 at 10:05 am

In the Green

This time of year, when the snowdrops bloom, I always think of Bill Owens.  Bill was a remarkable man:  born in 1905 in the tiny community of Pin Hook, Texas, he was raised in poverty by his widowed mother.  His teaching at a one-room schoolhouse was all from one...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on April 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

Gardens and Gardening on Video

While we’re waiting for the last year of GardenRant’s posts to be restored (long, frustrating story), enjoy the 14 new videos I recently added to the nonprofit educational campaign Good Gardening Videos. HOME GARDENS Tour a STUNNING GARDEN NEAR AUSTIN, with great plants and the best-looking stormwater solutions you’ve ever...

Read more in: Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on April 1, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Is Facebook a great place for gardening questions? Usually not.

It can depend on who’s in your friend list, but I’ve seen enough to determine that asking random gardening questions on Facebook is an exercise in frustration and bad information. The ones I have seen on my feed—usually about plant IDs or houseplant problems—get such a wide range of...

Read more in: Science Says, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 27, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Me and my Weepers

Guest Post by Bob Hill I have never fully understood my attraction to weeping plants and I really don’t want to pay some nerdy-looking guy with a psychology degree about $250-an-hour to find out. Truth be told, I’ve spent some time drinking beer and exchanging words like “theorization” and...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 22, 2017 at 7:14 am

Designer Puts Tallamy’s Advice into Practice

New England-area garden designer Matthew Cunningham will be speaking in Silver Spring, Maryland for the local chapter of APLD on Saturday February 11 from 10 to noon. His topic: “Stone, Wood, & Metal in Landscape Design.” (Reserve a spot here.) To bring attention to his talk, we were offered...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on March 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm

PlantPOP Wants to Film Your Story

In a recent post I recommended some videos by the very cool “horticultural film studio” PlantPOP (also on Youtube) and promised more about them soon. One phone call later, here ya go. To me it’s a fascinating story of art meets commerce. Art Parkerson grew up in the Tidewater region...

Read more in: Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on February 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Stick to gardening

Life is messy. I think we can all agree. You’d like to keep all the separate activities—professional life, family, hobbies, friends, travel—in their little boxes, but it’s never easy. Things run together, things collide, especially in the age of social media. I look at my Facebook posts from five...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on January 31, 2017 at 3:42 pm