Shut Up and Dig

Stone Moving

“Old School” That is how a man from the local quarry described my methods of lifting and moving stones. I use no machinery more complicated than a pair of wooden timbers – “shears” – lashed together with hemp rope, and a block and tackle or, at most, a “come-along,” a hand-cranked winch. Skeptical though he […]

Posted by  on November 7, 2016 at 9:45 am.   This post has 5 responses.

Marijuana, the Hottest Plant in Horticulture

Have you noticed what’s on the shelves in the gardening section of what’s left of book stores? LOTS of new or newly updated guides to growing marijuana, medical or otherwise. The bookstore-challenged can search “marijuana horticulture” on Amazon and find over 400 titles! Marijuana blogs are also hot, reporting on...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on November 4, 2016 at 8:35 am


Halloween could not be better timed in terms of horticultural nightmares for the Western New York gardener. It’s a wet, gray time; leaves are falling, perennial foliage is shriveling, and outdoor tasks are undertaken in an atmosphere of chilly reluctance. Welcome to my world of fright and despair. Ugh...

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 at 10:21 am

Turning a City Corner into a Garden

I got really tired of looking at this weedy corner, just a block from my home. A city-owned spot, it was filled with poison ivy, English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, and volunteer shrubs impeding driver visibility. So in August I began The Great Clean-up, which yielded a ginormous pile of...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 28, 2016 at 8:56 am

Kentucky’s Ark Encounter Stalled in Dry Dock

  The re-creation of Noah’s ark, sitting in dry dock, six miles from Dry Ridge, Kentucky, looks like a gargantuan Pez dispenser laid on its side. The ark sits in the distance across a dry lake meant to be symbolic of the Biblical flood, but the lake doesn’t hold...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 26, 2016 at 7:05 am

This is the other thing I like about David Austin roses

On Saturday, my stylist was showing me her long hedge of Knock Outs (various colors, don’t know the type) in front of her house and I have to admit I was a bit jealous. She then remarked that she needed to “cut them all back,” and I tried to...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 25, 2016 at 9:41 am

3 Take-aways from Garden Writer Meet-ups

I love hanging out with other garden writers, and have done quite a bit of that this year – at several local and regional events and especially, the Garden Blogger Fling in Minneapolis and the Garden Writers conference in Atlanta. I caught up with old friends, made new ones, and...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on October 21, 2016 at 2:53 am

We have a winner!

Congratulations, Chris Bosacki! I will be contacting you via email. Thanks for playing, everybody! Some great tips, too, like: -planting grape hyacinths, which throw out a few green leaves in fall, as a reminder not to dig up existing bulbs -plant a wall of daffodils around a tulip bed...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on October 20, 2016 at 8:02 am

Gifts of Autumn

In temperate climates, autumn showers us with a cornucopia of visual stimulation before we enter the season of dormancy. Here are some of my favorite examples of this season’s gifts of beauty.             What do you appreciate most about your garden in autumn?

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 18, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Here come the bulbs—and a GIVEAWAY

I did it again. Slightly over 1,000 bulbs have either arrived or are on their way to my smallish urban property. By far the majority of them are tulips that will mostly be planted in big pots, but there are also 50 tazetta, 200 hyacinths, and various narcissus, erythronium,...

Read more in: Uncategorized
Posted by on October 18, 2016 at 9:21 am

Remedial Gardening

My wife Suzanne and I used to have our best fights in the garden. I don’t remember her actually throwing a trowel at me, but on several occasions I’m sure she came close. I’m also sure it was my fault. I had an idea that we would garden together....

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on October 17, 2016 at 9:32 am

Gardening for the Future: Why Responsible Beauty Matters

Guest Rant by Fran Sorin There has been a tremendous amount of often rancorous debate about the use of natives vs. non-native plantings in designing gardens over the past several years. Thanks to the internet and our ability to take advantage of viewing photos and videos of gardens around...

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Posted by Fran Sorin on October 14, 2016 at 7:59 am

Why I can’t get too excited about the White House vegetable garden

Of course, it’s very good that the White House and the National Park Foundation have decided to maintain a food patch on the property. And let’s be clear on one thing right away: I am a big fan of both Obamas and would be happy to see them stay...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on October 13, 2016 at 9:13 am

Are You Afraid of Gardens and Nature?

Most of us know that gardens and nature are good for us. And good for our children, too. Dirt is healthy for kids, but forcing them outdoors does not work the way it once did. Baby boomers, as youngsters, got kicked out of the house after breakfast. We weren’t...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 12, 2016 at 7:50 am

Preserving the White House Kitchen Garden

The White House Kitchen Garden was in the news last week, as Michelle Obama dedicated the garden and unveiled other “updates” made to preserve the garden. Via the White House: Making the garden even more accessible to kids and world leaders alike, the updates include establishing a revised layout with a...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on October 10, 2016 at 7:22 am

Garden Design’s New Issue Comes with 5 Videos and Sadness, Too

I’ve done nothing but heap praise on Garden Design Magazine since its relaunch as an ad-free, more plant-focused publication under the direction of its new publisher, Jim Peterson. And I savor every gorgeous issue before reluctantly loaning them to my nonsubscribing friends. (Full disclosure – thanks to Jim’s attendance at recent...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on October 7, 2016 at 7:23 am

How I stopped worrying and learned to accept hydrangeas the way they are now

If I was bitter, I’d say that the industry has done its best to destroy hydrangeas, at least the macrophyllas I used to buy, with their deep, true colors. I can’t find the two brilliant pink macrophyllas I bought many years ago—‘Alpenglow’ and ‘Princess Beatrix’—at any nursery anywhere these...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 6, 2016 at 8:39 am

Common Gardening Practices That Hurt Bees

Worldwide, there’s a growing awareness of the value of pollinators, which is heartening for those of us who love food and biological diversity. However, pollinator populations continue their noticeable decline, and recently several bee species have been listed or proposed as federal endangered species. Individual gardeners and property owners...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on October 5, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Fall Planting

Many of us are already putting away our spades, but if you do, you’ll miss the best planting season of the year. Spring – the classic planting season – may be superior for most vegetables and annuals, but for woody plants – trees and shrubs – and container-grown perennials,...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on October 3, 2016 at 10:53 am

Lawn-Less Solutions in my Townhouse Garden

You’ve seen Part 1 of the Garden Clips videos of my garden and now Part 2 is up! In this tour of my back garden I opined a bit about lawn reduction, and of course the plants I use instead. Scroll down for a bit more about the plants mentioned....

Read more in: Real Gardens, Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on September 30, 2016 at 8:30 am
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