It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, What's Happening

Saving Seedlings, Saving the World

Recently I went camping near my new home in Boise. I sat down with a cup of coffee and a notebook in my campsite one morning, enjoying the trilling of a meadowlark and a view of natural scrubland as I pondered (this is one of my favorite activities). As my eyes roamed leisurely across the […]

Posted by  on May 20, 2014 at 11:52 pm.   This post has 21 responses.

Doublefile Viburnum – One More Reason to Garden on a Neighbor’s Land

Continuing our theme of gardening on property not our own, it can be a city-owned patch along the street (as discussed here and here), or it could be a spot in a neighbor’s yard.  Thus, there seems to be no safe empty spot of land in my new neighborhood,...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm

The Joys of Curbside Gardening, and Groundcover Sedums

Hellstrip gardening is getting its due these days, thanks to Evelyn Hadden’s terrific new book on the subject, and Lauren Springer Ogden’s coining of the term in the first place.  And it starts a discussion about gardens that bring pleasure to not just the gardener, but the whole community. ...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform
Posted by on May 16, 2014 at 7:56 am

Kentucky King of Taros

  Poi, a traditional edible starch of the tropics, made from the ground corms of taro, can’t keep up with its popular starchy rivals—potato, corn and rice. But its ornamental qualities have come out of the shadows in the last ten years. The tropical plant, commonly known as elephant...

Read more in: Eat This, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on May 14, 2014 at 6:38 am

Great Healthy Yard Project

That’s Diane Lewis, whose New York Times editorial “The Toxic Brew in our Yards” about pesticides stated the problem so convincingly and drew kudos from around the gardening world.   I found the video on the website of her Great Healthy Yard Project. I’ll be contacting Dr. Lewis to congratulate...

Read more in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on May 13, 2014 at 7:12 am

Boxwoods? Bah!

ProfessorRoush would like to call down a pox on all garden authorities who have advocated various winter hardy boxwoods to be excellent landscaping plants. A further pox should descend on the big box stores who sell the cheapest boxwoods available and thus limit the selection of available cultivars to us. Boxwoods are everywhere these days....

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 12, 2014 at 8:18 am

House and Garden Porn from a Spring Tour

Last weekend I returned to my former home town, Takoma Park, MD, for their spring tour and left with one big take-away – that good-looking gardens are easier to achieve when they surround great-looking homes.  And Takoma is known for its gorgeous housing stock of Victorians and bungalows and...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on May 9, 2014 at 7:07 am

Sights and Sounds from the Porch I Finally Have

Recorded this morning from my favorite chair, which I’ll be using lots more when it gets buggy here in Maryland.

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on May 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm

That “New Plant” Experience

It is a joy to grow certain plants for the memories they invoke and the anticipation of their familiar scent, sight, taste, and other beloved qualities, as well as the pleasure of seeing them expand and perhaps self-propagate in our gardens. However, it is an equally delightful experience to...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on May 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm

A master of botanical accuracy

Just in time for local wildflower season (finally), the Burchfield Penney Art Museum is mounting a show of Charles Burchfield’s early botanical drawings. Along with them, they have the models made by another artist, Paul Marchand, who specialized in dioramas and other 3D displays for the local science museum’s...

Read more in: But is it Art?, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on May 6, 2014 at 7:07 am

HOW many Millennials have taken up Gardening?

This article in the Washington Post about the White House having gone all “junk food to veggies” is a fun read.  Group fitness challenge!  Electronic tracking of progress toward fitness!  Apples in bowls!  I mean it – I love this stuff. But of interest to us gardeners in particular:...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on May 2, 2014 at 7:43 am

The Smiling Faces of Spring

SPRING!!! I am traveling to Brooklyn to do some garden business, and to see what spring looks like after a long, long winter. I am amazed at the pep in everyone’s step! Living for so long in Southern California, one takes the endless summer/spring for granted – but NOBODY...

Read more in: CRRRITIC, It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on May 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm

U.S. Botanic Garden ISO Executive Director

After 14 years at its helm, Holly Shimizu is leaving the U.S. Botanic Garden this week, retiring to a life of…to be determined.  (Wild guess – some gardening, and somehow pursuing her passion for conservation.)  She tells me there will be a national search for her replacement, so spread...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on April 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

RIP tulipa?

It looks like the deer won. I gave a talk at a suburban garden club last week, and, to a woman, all the gardeners there told me they don’t bother trying to grow tulips anymore. No matter what they do, the bulbs get eaten, as soon as they start...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on April 28, 2014 at 9:07 am

Hellstrip Gardening Highlights and Give-away

How could I NOT love Hellstrip Gardening?  The subject is fun and inspiring, and I’m a long-time fan of the author, too – the Rant’s own Evelyn Hadden  (whose earlier book about Beautiful No-Mow Lawns I reviewed here.) But this isn’t a “review.”  (They’re usually so boring!)  Instead, I...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Lawn Reform, Uncategorized
Posted by on April 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

Contrasting Front Yards: Turf Only v. Wildlife-Filled

I love this video by Beltsville, MD wildlife gardener Marcia Van Horn.  (Viewable on desk and laptops, but not on mobile devices.)  I know Marcia because she created a video of Greenbelt’s Less Lawn Garden Tour.  Next, she volunteered to help me improve the videos I’m making of DC’s...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on April 24, 2014 at 7:47 am

Death Valley Days and the Discovery of Two New Plant Species

I had a fitful first day in Death Valley a few weeks ago. I felt like an apprehensive Spencer Tracy when he got off the train at Black Rock in the 1955 film Bad Day at Black Rock. Whereas Tracy was nominated for an Academy Award for his role,...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on April 23, 2014 at 7:12 am

The L word

Two days before Earth Day, my regular segment on our local NPR station was aired. I don’t come on as a gardening expert; I am part of a rotation of local editors and media types who chat about issues their publications are covering. We talked about gardening because my...

Read more in: GardenRant Airwaves, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on April 22, 2014 at 8:34 am

Immediacy and the Novice Gardener

by Guest Author Wendy Kiang-Spray I had a great neighbor who has since moved away. The first day we met him, he invited us over for empanadas. He and his wife were perfect neighbors for first-time homeowners to have. Old enough to know the neighborhood stories, young enough to...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by Wendy Kiang-Spray on April 18, 2014 at 8:11 am

If I had a nickel for every garden cliché I’ve ever heard…

Guest Rant by Amy Campion Like thistles invading a garden, hackneyed phrases have seeded themselves into garden writing and need to be rooted out. They choke out good prose and distract from the message.  What’s more, they really irk me.  If you write about gardening, I beg you to...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Amy Campion on April 17, 2014 at 6:15 am
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