Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy

Nine years of ranting about the map

Don’t worry—we’re not starting a new Throwback Tuesday series. But after reading Thomas Christopher’s post detailing his issues with the current USDA plant hardiness map, I felt it would be useful to revisit previous Rant discussions on this highly controversial topic. There have been plenty. The mere fact that it took over 10 years to […]

Posted by  on March 22, 2016 at 8:00 am.   This post has 7 responses.

Hardiness Disinformation

Successful gardeners are firmly rooted in what Karl Rove in 2004 famously disparaged as “the reality-based community.” That is, we study what we find around us and base our actions on that. I mention this because we are still, in a significant way, suffering from the Bush administration’s determination...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on March 19, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Philly Flower (?) Show Report

I’ll say one thing for this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show – good for the PHS for choosing national parks as the theme, in celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. I love that parks got tons of attention! But flower-show material, they’re really not. Case in point: the show’s...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 18, 2016 at 8:26 am

#TBT: Natives are hot, but am I hot for natives? Or just confused?

Native plants—a topic that we’ll be discussing for rants to come. In this one from March, 2007, Elizabeth is noting the vast differences between the original environments for these species and her urban garden in Buffalo (among other things). She has a lot more native plants now than she...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on March 17, 2016 at 9:11 am

The Payoff

For wildlife gardeners — including those who want to support pollinators — certain plants promise a bigger payoff. Shrubs are one category of plant that often deliver more rewards for less effort. They are larger than a perennial and can produce many more blooms per plant. Since they are...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 16, 2016 at 2:31 am

Super bloom snapshot

Right now, sprinkled throughout sections of vast Death Valley National Park, are swaths of color standing out from the usual palette of faded greens, and soft grays and browns. A rare super bloom, the result of three unusual October rainstorms, (three inches of rain instead of an annual one...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants
Posted by Nancy J. Parisi on March 14, 2016 at 8:00 am

Good Berry Bad Berry

Guest Post by Helen Yoest  As a curious gardener and a naturalist, I have always been intrigued by flashy berries hanging from the branches of trees and shrubs. There was a field next to our house where I grew up, and behind the field on one side of my...

Read more in: Feed Me, Guest Rants
Posted by Helen Yoest on March 13, 2016 at 10:02 am

First Lady to Drop in on Gardens Across the Country

Big gardening news – our best advocate, with a bigger microphone and better media coverage than Martha Stewart ever had, will be dropping in on gardens, in a very public way, all year.  From People Magazine: To celebrate her last season with the White House Kitchen Garden she installed...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 11, 2016 at 8:34 am

#TBT: GardenRant Takes Over the World

Dear readers: We’re fast approaching the 10th anniversary of GardenRant’s arrival on the web – June 13, 2016. So to start the celebrations, we’re posting oldies but goodies – for Throwback Thursday. GardenRant wasn’t announced here, though – no one would have found it on its first day. Co-founder Amy Stewart made...

Read more in: Garden Rant turns 10
Posted by on March 10, 2016 at 8:00 am

When The Aster Hitched a Ride

I received a letter from Raydon (pronounced RAYd’n) Alexander 25 years ago. A passalong plant was on the road to distinction. January 15, 1991 Dear Mr. Bush, I am taking the liberty of sending you an aster that should, I think, be more widely distributed. I can see from...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 9, 2016 at 7:51 am

Wild means wild

The season is almost upon us here in Western New York. Snowdrops came and went in early February, though I see just a few late bloomers emerging—they might be some fancy hybrids I put in last September. I don’t bother with crocuses, but do expect plenty of lesser-used ephemerals—like...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm

How to Have a Flowering Lawn

Last week I spotted the first snow crocuses (Crocus chrysanthus) and snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) opening their flowers in my lawn — they are just one of the benefits of the fine fescue grasses that I grow as turf. These grasses are the basis of the “no-mow” lawns that you...

Read more in: Lawn Reform, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 7, 2016 at 7:44 am

It’s the Year of Garden-Park Connections

Have you heard that 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service? Well, here’s the press release, and here’s Find Your Park, a growing collection of stories about people connecting with the parks. (The connection is easy for Michelle Obama – she lives in one, and has...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, What's Happening
Posted by on March 4, 2016 at 9:01 am

Trump, a Cabbage Palm or Sassafras

I had no idea it was National Margarita Day. A Sanibel Island waitress mentioned it to us a few weeks ago. I was trying to focus on palm trees, but Donald Trump, his outsize ego and disturbing pretense, wouldn’t go away. I ordered a margarita. My aunt and brother-in-law...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 3, 2016 at 10:29 am

And then—finally—there was one

When we bought our house twenty-three years ago, what I knew about gardening would not have filled a seed packet. I did know early spring flowers were an antidote for winter blahs, so I planted a big sack of snowdrops under the sugar maple. The blooms would be visible...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Joanna Brichetto on March 1, 2016 at 11:49 am

Garden Flags with Shibori and Permanent Dye

The last time I posted about making garden flags you saw them dyed with Rit and then stenciled with acrylic paints. All 66 flags of them will hang in my front yard and screen my view of a parking lot. There’s another screening problem in my back yard, and this time...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on February 26, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Trends I won’t be following this season

At this time of year, the inboxes of garden writers (and editors of any genre) are flooded with trend report and predictions of what people will be planting, buying, and installing in the coming season. Most of it is so silly that my delete finger doesn’t stop moving enough...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on February 23, 2016 at 8:03 am

European Garden Travels with Carolyn

If I ever go on a European garden tour, I’ll choose one that features gardens that are interesting to American gardeners and designers and about gardening today, not the usual tour of gardens that are over 100 years old. It might be a tour designed and led by garden...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on February 19, 2016 at 8:35 am

New Views

As part of a home renovation project, I’m having a few windows replaced. It’s a great time to be thinking about windows because my new garden is still in its formative stages. When I’m indoors, I like to stand or sit right next to a window and drink in...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on February 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Preserves work in every season

While I do enjoy visiting the warm glasshouses of our splendid botanical garden during the winter, the experience can pall. Though it’s lovely to view orchids, bromeliads, succulents, towering palms, and a wide variety of tropical oddities, it can get to be a bit routine. And you’re not getting...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on February 16, 2016 at 10:01 am
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