It's the Plants, Darling

Butterfly weed—why not

Many of you have heard that 2017’s “Perennial Plant of the Year” is Asclepias tuberosa/butterfly weed. It’s not a surprising choice—attention to attracting and supporting pollinators, especially butterflies, especially monarchs, has been peaking for the past few years and shows no sign of declining. A good thing. Normally, I pay scant attention to “plants of […]

Posted by  on January 11, 2017 at 9:51 am.   This post has 10 responses.

Robinson Crusoe’s Ten Favorite Perennials

  It’s the dead of winter, and you might be wishing you were stranded—with amenities—on a desert island with Robinson Crusoe. But Robinson Crusoe is not on a desert island. He is stuck in Kentucky. Crusoe is not afraid of cannibals or mutineers, but he is tired of scraping...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by on January 9, 2017 at 8:10 am

Bark for the Winter Blues

Guest Post by Bob Hill Somewhere between the January Blahs and a typically mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder – the aptly acronymed SAD – I find comfort in wandering our yard in mid-winter marveling at the upbeat, happy bark offered by our collection of maple trees, especially our...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Bob Hill on January 6, 2017 at 7:10 am

The myth of the plant killer

May 2017 be the year that nobody insists to me that they have a “black thumb.” Except that I know it won’t happen. I was at a small New Year’s Eve party when one of my non-gardening friends asked for advice about an aspidistra (cast iron plant) she’d just...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on January 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

Goals for a New Year

I have eschewed New Year’s resolutions this year – I typically set myself impossible goals such as moderating my seed purchases and then feel doubly badly about the ensuing order-orgy. But I do have some goals for 2017. I’m going to cap the cost of my seed expenditures by...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Tune In
Posted by on January 2, 2017 at 8:08 am

The Landscapes of McMansion Hell

For making me laugh while I learn, I LOVE the architecture critic Kate Wagner and her highly opinionated blog McMansion Hell. Who could resist her “Pringles Can of Shame ™” award in the photo above? So I recommend McMansion Hell for making me laugh and for educating me with “What the...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on December 30, 2016 at 7:56 am

Dying on the Vine? Part II

Guest Rant by Scott Beuerlein, who insists the end is not nigh. Gardeners join together. One of my very favorite quotes came from a supervisor I had many years ago in what seems like a previous life. He said: “It’s not that I want to be an asshole, it’s...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Ministry of Controversy, What's Happening
Posted by Scott Beuerlein on December 29, 2016 at 7:39 am

Dying on the Vine? Part I

    This is the first of a two-part series on the decline of plant societies and garden clubs. Tomorrow, Scott Beuerlein explains how to dig out of the hole.   Many of us who garden, and who benefit from garden group gatherings, have kept quiet about the decline...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, What's Happening
Posted by on December 28, 2016 at 7:38 am

At the closing of the year

In our region, the end of the year corresponds rather neatly with the end of the gardening season. Yesterday (Boxing Day), I was texting with a friend who was taking advantage of the freakishly balmy temps to finally getting some bulbs planted I had given him. He wanted to...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 27, 2016 at 10:37 am

Garden Flags and Bird Feeders: Failures and Fixes

I’ve complained before about the hassle of bird feeders in my tiny townhouse garden, where the shit-stained baffle isn’t doing the job of keeping squirrels away as these world-class gymnasts simply vault from anything nearby to the feeder. I then complained that hummingbird feeders are too much of a commitment for...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on December 23, 2016 at 7:14 am

Nothing to be SAD about?

This holiday season, I’m searching for any good news, and this might qualify. Or at least it might save people some money. According to studies conducted by the Journal of Clinical Psychology and the Centers for Disease Control and Production, the condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may...

Read more in: Science Says
Posted by on December 22, 2016 at 9:02 am

BIG Like You Won’t Believe

 Bob Hill has a deal for you. Even in our cell-phone-talking, Kindle-reading, GOOGLE-surfing age, this is the time of year when many of us are dwarfed by the deluge of incoming garden catalogs. In the early years of our marriage, my wife and I debated if we should add...

Read more in: Guest Rants
Posted by Bob Hill on December 21, 2016 at 7:41 am

A Better Way With Weeds

I have a love/hate relationship with weeds. Perhaps love is too strong a term, but I do greatly admire the persistence of weeds and the role they play in preserving disturbed soils. Indeed, a number of years ago, I wrote an article for The New York Times Sunday Magazine...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 20, 2016 at 8:57 am

How to Recommend Plants with Video

Searching the Internet for good gardening videos for over a year now, I’ve come to lament their dearth in one major category – ornamental plants. Thanks to Extension universities and a few media-savvy experts, there’s plenty of help for new veg-growing gardeners, but if you want to beautify your...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on December 16, 2016 at 8:36 am

Rufus and the Pretend Prairie

Today, our pretend prairie celebrates the fifth anniversary of its first seed sowing. The prairie is our beautiful baby, and I don’t worry with questions about legitimacy. Central Kentucky—the Bluegrass Region—was until human settlement, a vast woodland with cane breaks of native bamboo, Arundinaria gigantea. There were no prairies...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on December 14, 2016 at 7:57 am

A Plea for Trees

A friend of mine, pissed off with the continuing loss of Louisville’s trees, emailed me yesterday, after reading the front page of Louisville’s Courier-Journal. She stripped off the bark. “You know what I say to myself every time I step outdoors? I sure wish they would mow down a...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on December 13, 2016 at 10:39 am

Embracing the ephemeral

During the Western New York growing season, my focus is (mostly) on keeping plants alive and viable for seasons to come. I weed, prune, and nourish perennials and shrubs that I hope will become stalwart landscape features. The idea is to create garden areas that won’t need replacing every...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 12, 2016 at 9:18 am

Get your Holiday-Decorating Videos Right Here

My numero uno project these days is reviewing and collecting good gardening videos, as I might have mentioned here a few times (ahem). And to be on-trend (oh, always!), we’ve gone looking for some that demonstrate how to make holiday decorations out of (mainly) plants, and found these 14. If you’re...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on December 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Ask a Designer: Deer-Proof Perennials

Next up in our “Ask a Designer” series is designer Claire Jones  in Maryland. How many times do you visit a garden center and get overwhelmed with the many choices that entice with gorgeous foliage and blooms? And you impulse buy the “flavor of the month” perennial that the garden center...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Claire Jones on December 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

The Root of All Goodness

We welcome first time Guest Ranter Bob Hill as he digs deep into the past and tucks away stories for the future. When we first moved into our 1860’s farm house in Southern Indiana about 40 years ago, it came with a leaky tin roof, a wiring system apparently...

Read more in: Guest Rants
Posted by Bob Hill on December 7, 2016 at 7:09 am
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