It's the Plants, Darling

A Grower of Regionally Appropriate Plants is Hard to Find

“Nothing will grow here if you don’t water it.” That sentence, which I hear everywhere and not just here in the desert, points out a person who has not yet met the right grower(s). Growers are a bottleneck in this business of changing the way Americans landscape. If a person wants to make an ecologically […]

Posted by  on April 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm.   This post has 32 responses.

In Japan, “The flowers only bloom for a week, so let’s party!”

Stories about cherry blossoms in Washington can be pretty boring, but this report about how they’re celebrated in Japan is anything but.

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on April 14, 2015 at 6:43 am

A bell that tolls for all of us—with different tunes

The drought news from the West and Southwest combined with watching Interstellar over the weekend has me thinking about water and the lack thereof. We don’t have a drought threat here in Western New York, but, just as the article I linked to above says, “Nothing about water is...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on April 13, 2015 at 8:03 am

The Art of Digging and Where we Learn It

Avid gardeners, I bet you love your tools as much as I do, especially the ones for digging. Gloves I buy by the dozen but digging tools I expect to last forever, which of course they don’t. I recently destroyed my long-handled shovel by treating it like it was...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on April 10, 2015 at 8:22 am

Bourbon Disease Could Be Worse Than a Bad Hangover

  The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner—the first Saturday in May. I am gripped with fear. I won’t lose sleep over another losing Derby bet, but I’ve just read in the past few weeks that Bourbon disease could rear its ugly head.  I hope not, but who...

Read more in: Science Says, What's Happening
Posted by on April 9, 2015 at 7:57 am

There’s Hope for Urban Design

‘Tis the season of garden seminars. Recently I participated in a thought-provoking one-day seminar on the theme of bringing nature into our cities. I spoke about hellstrip gardens, but a couple of the other speakers addressed larger-scale landscapes. After seeing their photos and hearing about so many projects that...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on April 8, 2015 at 2:03 am

Garden Rant Giveaway Grand Drawing

While visiting in Louisville, Panayoti Kelaidis and Jan Fahs of Denver, Colorado graciously agreed to make the drawing for the Garden Rant Giveaway that you’ve all awaited.   Drum roll, please…The lucky winner of Essential Perennials: The Complete Reference to 2700 Perennials for the Home Garden: is Mary Beth Martin of...

Read more in: Books
Posted by on April 7, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Pesticide Bans Arriving in U.S.

The banning of pesticides on ornamentals plants started in Canada but is gradually spreading to the south. Liberal Takoma Park, MD recently became the first place in the U.S. to implement such a ban on public and private property, as reported here. And now the proponents of that ban are taking it...

Read more in: Science Says, What's Happening
Posted by on April 3, 2015 at 8:33 am

Essential Perennials…You Gotta Have It.

    Are you ready for another great Garden Rant Giveaway? Now’s your chance! You could be the lucky winner of Essential Perennials: The Complete Reference to 2700 Perennials for the Home Garden. Post a comment below and tell us what your favorite perennial is and why you like...

Read more in: Books, CRRRITIC
Posted by on April 2, 2015 at 7:55 am

So Visit a Garden Already!

Wherever you live, this mini-rant is for you. The DC Gardens crowd-sourcing campaign to promote gardening and public gardens is happening through May 1 at Indiegogo.

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on March 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Clinging to big chem

Glyphosate and neonics—herbicides and pesticides contested as benign by most of big ag and big gardening— were in the news again. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has stated that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans; its evidence came from human agricultural exposure as well...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on March 30, 2015 at 8:30 am

On Lady Bird Johnson, Beauty, and Tulips v. Daffodils

 Photo by John Taylor.  Title: Lady Bird’s Gift Another great column by John Kelly for the Washington Post – this time about Lady Bird Johnson’s “beautification” program. Lady Bird’s beautification campaign started in the spring of 1965. She was involved with a group called the Society for a More...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 27, 2015 at 8:26 am

Floral Design Clash at the White House: French v. Modern

First there was news that head White House floral designer Laura Dowling had left her job a few weeks ago, with no fanfare, and no one knew why.  There were reports that she’d actually been “escorted off the grounds”! Two days later the Washington Post’s gossip-column had an update –...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 26, 2015 at 8:12 am

The Other Garden

  A person’s relationship with a garden can be one of the most profound relationships we can have. Just as profound as the ones we have with our husbands, our wives, our children. A connection with a garden can be like the one we have with a lover –...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Public Gardens, Real Gardens
Posted by on March 25, 2015 at 12:12 am

Seasonal survival strategies

By now we northeasterners are aware—though not surprised—that the first few days of “spring” aren’t bringing much relief. Snow cover is still receding, temps are still minimal, and it seems incredible that within weeks we’ll be seeing daffodils and hellebores. Here’s how I get through the last dreary gasps...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 23, 2015 at 8:00 am

Late Bloomers on CBS, and They’re Not Talking Asters

CBS Sunday Morning story this week did a story on late bloomers, which had me looking up from my newspaper expecting flowers.  Turns out, it was much more interesting, at least to this late bloomer. First up, reporter Susan Spencer introduced us to Carol Gardner who (in her 50s) started a...

Read more in: Grab Bag
Posted by on March 20, 2015 at 9:26 am

Borrowing stones and scenery

Even in New England the snow is melting and soon I will be confronted with what the winter – and the plow truck – have done to my stone walls.  I take a particular pride in these, not because they are such beautiful specimens of the craft, but because...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Let’s Spread the Word about Public Gardens in D.C. and Elsewhere

I just donated to help fund a website that showcases DC-area gardens, a project spearheaded by fellow Ranter Susan Harris. Wherever I go, I visit gardens; no doubt many of you fellow gardeners do too. And sometimes it is difficult to quickly figure out which public gardens are near...

Read more in: Public Gardens, What's Happening
Posted by on March 18, 2015 at 12:15 am

What Makes Cities Attractive, and our Intellectual Confusion about Beauty

Pertinent to our discussions here of garden criticism – right or wrong – enjoy this video by architecture writer Alain de Botton.  At about 11:15 he gets to the “first obstacle to beautiful cities” – the intellectually confused position that no one has the right to say what’s pretty...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on March 14, 2015 at 7:58 am

MY Trip to the Philly Flower Show

Boy, do we cover the Philadelphia Flower Show here – with a guest post, a guest photographer, and now with my very personal experience of the show – which was not the greatest, and all my fault. First, some meeting and greeting. White House floral designer Laura Dowling demonstrated...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 13, 2015 at 8:14 am
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