Everybody's a Critic

Don’t go see “A Little Chaos” for the gardens

A movie about the gardens of Versailles starring Kate Winslet opens today! Imagine my excitement when one of the many publicists who contacted me about it invited me to a free screening. It’s titled A Little Chaos and here’s the synopsis: “A romantic drama following Sabine, a talented landscape designer, who is building a garden at Versailles for […]

Posted by  on June 26, 2015 at 7:54 am.   This post has 23 responses.

Tales From the Droughtside or THE DROUGHTPOCALYPSE!!!

It is pretty bad out here, folks. People seem to be using the drought as an excuse to GIVE UP. Clothed in the the dry, tattered, unwashed rags of self-righteousness (they only run their washing machines once a month), they zealously save water, and they let their yards go...

Read more in: Uncategorized
Posted by on June 24, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Natives and invasives—observations from Toronto

On the first day of our Toronto garden exploration, we spent an hour or so in High Park, the city’s largest public park. It features 399 acres of public space, including picnic areas, a playground, formal and informal gardens, an ornamental lake, and a mini-zoo, but we spent our...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens
Posted by on June 23, 2015 at 9:17 am

Gardens and gardening on tiny Toronto Islands

My favorites of all the gardens we saw on the Gardenblogger Fling in Toronto weren’t grand – anything but. They were the small funky ones on the just-offshore islands known collectively as Toronto Islands, which we reached by ferry. We toured gardens on two residential islands – Ward’s and Algonquin, and I might have...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on June 19, 2015 at 8:48 am

What’s a “Relentlessly Gay” yard?

To a self-described Christian in the Baltimore area, it’s having colorful candles. Rainbow-colored candles. They’re what moved a “Concerned Home Owner” to complain in this note to the offending neighbor. Homeowner Julie Baker is responding by going even MORE relentless and to raise money to do that, she started...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on June 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Nature Corridors Boost Failing Wildlife Populations

Doug Tallamy is one of my heroes. He is a visionary thinker with the ability to tie together disparate bits of information — research results, personal observations, known scientific facts — into powerful calls for action that guide us toward living within nature, rather than continuing to segregate ourselves...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, What's Happening
Posted by on June 17, 2015 at 6:19 am

“Nature rewards the bold”

The quote comes from the last words of a recent essay by Umberto Pasti in the New York Times. Many of you will also recognize his inspiration—Fortune favors the brave, a Latin proverb that’s been used as the motto of regiments, clans, battleships, and many other entities. However you say...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on June 16, 2015 at 8:38 am

Mid-Atlantic Gardeners are invited to Perennial Plant Event

For years I’ve heard the Perennial Plant Association called one of the best organizations in the plant world, and its yearly symposium the BEST.  This year it’s being held in Baltimore, close to home for me, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Local organizer Janet Draper wrote to...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on June 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

Get Your Local On with Slow Flowers

by Debra Prinzing I know you adore flowers as much as I do.  But more than loving flowers, I’m passionate about American grown flowers, a topic I’ve occasionally written about here on Garden Rant. I use the term “Slow Flowers” to define the practice of sourcing flowers locally, one...

Read more in: Guest Rants, What's Happening
Posted by on June 13, 2015 at 6:21 am

Gardenblogging and Flinging in 2015

First, the Gardenblogger Fling happened last weekend in Toronto and was a roaring success.  Thanks again to the local organizes, who created 4+ fabulous days of events and then herded us through it all as patient, unfrazzled hosts who managed to have fun themselves.  That’s Helen Battersby of Toronto Gardens, Lorraine...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on June 12, 2015 at 8:50 am

Mad May: No Fury

My excitement for wild plants is as far afield from Mad Max: Fury Road as you can imagine. My best botanizing adventures, by comparison, would be more like an open-air My Dinner with Andre. An afternoon with my plant-obsessed compatriots would bore the bejesus out of most Americans or,...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on June 10, 2015 at 7:12 am

Strategies for a new age

It’s not just what’s happening “out west.” Water management of every kind is a huge issue for everybody, so I have been listening and reading with great interest to all that’s happening around water. On Thursday, as I was driving up to Toronto to attend a truncated version of...

Read more in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens, Tune In
Posted by on June 8, 2015 at 7:40 am

We’re Flinging in Toronto!

Waaaay back in 2008 this group of gardenbloggers got together for the first time in Austin for the first Garden Blogger Fling to party and see gardens. No keynotes or break-out sessions in hotel conference rooms. Just fun, networking like crazy, and actually making new friends. No matter that we’re...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on June 4, 2015 at 10:38 pm

A Better Garden Tiller

I like the versatility of my BCS two-wheel tractor with all the different implements it can operate, but if I were shopping for a dedicated garden tiller, I would certainly get the new vertical tine model from Troy-Bilt. Properly known as the “Bronco Axis Vertical Tine Garden Tiller,”  this...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on June 4, 2015 at 10:27 am

A Tale of Two Mulches

When I began making this new garden, I was able to get large quantities of bagged leaves and grass clippings free, so I used them to smother the lawn and to mulch around new plants. This year, I found a source of cheap wood chips, so I am employing...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on June 3, 2015 at 2:36 am

Unwelcome signs of late spring

The first one is a common sight along just about any American street. Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to these. As a kid, I knew enough to think, “poison, stay away.” As an adult and a longtime gardener, I look at the signs with annoyance and some disgust,...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on June 2, 2015 at 8:16 am

Favorite evergreen natives – Ragwort and Bignonia

Today I’m showing off two plants that are not only native to me in Maryland but share two traits I wish were more common among native – they’re evergreen AND vigorous growers in the garden. First up, the unfortunately named Ragwort, a/k/a Golden Groundsel, officially Packera aurea. Here’s what it looked...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 29, 2015 at 7:36 am

My Favorite Flower Show

  We got tipped-off about Celesta McComas’s flower show last year at Thanksgiving dinner. My wife Rose told Bobbie Ann Mason that we lived, part-time, in Salvisa, KY. Bobbie Ann lives a few miles away in Lawrenceburg. Clearly suffering from separation anxiety, Bobbie Ann confessed that Celesta had moved...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on May 27, 2015 at 7:20 am

Coming to a town near you—an art project for monarchs

Among all the many seed distribution strategies I’ve seen discussed or proposed, this one is both simple and beautiful. Jenny Kendler’s Milkweed Dispersal Balloons project consists of a mobile unit towing a flotilla of balloons filled with milkweed seed. As the artist says on her website: The artist and...

Read more in: But is it Art?
Posted by on May 26, 2015 at 8:10 am

Groundcovers Make the Rose Garden

I’m happy to see that (some) rose gardens are looking better these days, thanks to their good-looking and super-performing groundcovers. To my eyes, they cover all sorts of rosebush deficiencies throughout the year.  (Love the blooms; the plants not so much.) Here are some of my favorites, all appearing now...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 22, 2015 at 7:15 am
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