It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens

There’s fall color—and fall color

Every day on my way to work, I always look at a certain house, just before I make my final turn. It is the one vibrant spot of color on a block, which, though perfectly nice, is typified by sedate, small front lawns and a few foundation plantings. But these people. These people are gardeners […]

Posted by  on October 26, 2017 at 10:02 am.   This post has 5 responses.

Waiting for Camus

Albert Camus nearly got it right when he wrote: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is in flower.” The French philosopher didn’t clutter a good line with what really blossoms in autumn for many gardeners. In practical terms, with cooler temperatures, the weeds wind down. This year,...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on October 25, 2017 at 7:47 am

Discovering Sally Fox, Legendary Cotton Breeder

At my town’s film festival last weekend I met a filmmaker just out of USC film school whose masters project had been accepted by (and then won an award from) the festival. The short film – True Colors by Bethann Morgan – is the scripted true story of Sally...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 20, 2017 at 9:44 am

Erasing nature

“acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow.” These are the words that have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. “attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 17, 2017 at 10:40 am

The Case Against Earthworms

When I dug in my Berkshire garden this summer I found a host of earthworms.  That, it turns out, is bad. I was raised to regard earthworms as the gardener’s best friend.  It’s true, these benevolent creatures (or so I regarded them then) aerate the soil with their tunnels...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on October 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

Landscape Architect Wins MacArthur Genius Award

Nice news this week via Brad McKee, editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine, who writes: Kate Orff, ASLA, became the first landscape architect to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, which carries a $625,000 award over five years for “originality, insight, and potential.” Orff was among 24 fellows named by the foundation today, who also included...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 13, 2017 at 8:18 am

Ask Your Budtender First

  I went to a legal pot dispensary in Denver this summer. Marijuana, you’ve no doubt heard, is a hot commodity in Colorado. The dispensary reminded me of the Long Branch Saloon on the long-playing television series Gunsmoke (1955-1975). Miss Kitty traded gossip in the saloon with U.S. Marshall...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, What's Happening
Posted by on October 11, 2017 at 8:19 am

Closing edicts

Lessons learned from the 2017 gardening season (so far): Never again: Morning glory (convolvulus): The central mission of this (gorgeous) blue cultivar seemed to be to envelope every plant within its reach, while making sure to release as few flowers as possible in the process. The blooms, when they...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 10, 2017 at 11:23 am

The Gardens (and More) of Asbury Park, NJ

When I go to the beach it’s in the spring or fall, and even in glorious weather like we’re enjoying this week, I don’t really lie on the beach. As a plantaholic, I gravitate toward nearby gardens and plant-filled natural areas instead. There the blogger in me takes over,...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 5, 2017 at 7:40 am

A Few Timely Points About Growing Trees

I’ve finally gotten around to reading a book called The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. My wife gave it to me as a birthday present a few years ago, hoping it would better inform my drinking. But in a move reminiscent of Jeff Bridge’s version of Rooster Cogburn, I bellowed...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants
Posted by Scott Beuerlein on October 4, 2017 at 8:03 am

More on Hard Cider

In my last post I wrote about hunting for the apples with which I make hard cider.  Having done that – I’ve located two trees full of what appear to be ‘Golden Russet’ apples —  I thought I would add a few notes about turning the fresh, sweet cider...

Read more in: Drink This, Feed Me, Garden Rant Cocktail Hour
Posted by on October 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

I Found my Bird Feeder Bliss

For decades in a former garden, my bird-watching consisted of standing on my deck and pointing the trusty binocs at the bird houses in the wooded valley below. I can’t you what birds actually filled them – I’m that bad at bird recognition – but anyway, my favorites were...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on September 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Solidago solidarity

A recent post from my good friend, gardener and blogger, Gail Eichelberger, poses the question, “What’s wrong with goldenrod?” She then swiftly answers, “Nothing!” I couldn’t agree more. Here is one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, late season plants. I rejoice when it spreads to cover entire...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 28, 2017 at 11:18 am

Dennis the Menace

I drove to Cherokee Park’s Big Rock Pavilion, adjacent to Beargrass Creek, on Friday afternoon, anticipating a profusion of white bonesets, blue dayflowers and lingering yellow wingstems. I wasn’t disappointed. But there was more. A hundred yards downstream, I could make out rock sculptures—dozens of them. They looked, from...

Read more in: But is it Art?, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on September 27, 2017 at 7:36 am

The Clarion Call of Brugmansia

October is peeking its nose up over the horizon now, shortening the days, painting the landscape, dredging up reluctant thoughts of the leaf blower and raggedy sweaters. And yet it’s been 90 degrees here in Southern Indiana, even as the rest of the world deals with snow, torrential rains,...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 25, 2017 at 10:46 am

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...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on September 22, 2017 at 7:19 am

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
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