Lawn Reform

Report from the Transition Zone: Sustainable Turfgrasses Tested at U.Md.

It’s kinda frustrating here in the Mid-Atlantic “Transition Zone” for turfgrasses because neither warm- or cold-season grasses are best suited to our climate.  The frustration was pronounced as I looked for examples of the more sustainable, no-mow-type fine fescues that are being touted from colder climes.  (Here’s a shout-out from grass researcher Tom Christopher in Connecticut.) […]

Posted by  on October 10, 2014 at 9:26 am.   This post has 7 responses.

Sins of My Lawn: Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu

  I confess: I keep a lawn. Call me heathen. I know lawns are environmentally suspect, but mine doesn’t ask for much. I’ve applied nothing from the periodic table that screams Skull and Crossbones. And I won’t plow this spit of land for the sake of butterfly weeds or...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 8, 2014 at 7:21 am

Urban prairie envy

I’m not the owner of this house, nor am I the designer of the pictured front yard, but I do admire  the knowledge,  commitment and creativity of whoever made this garden. I came across this house on a random trip around town while driving down a street that I...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 6, 2014 at 7:48 am

Meeting Animals

You may not be surprised to hear that, though I adore plants, I garden primarily for animals and the life they bring to a place. Growing up, I was taught by my mother to treat animals gently and respectfully, whether they are pets or wild creatures. Mom and I...

Read more in: Public Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 3, 2014 at 1:11 am

1952 Gardening Rule: “Display good taste and exercise restraint.”

At a used-book sale to benefit the local elementary school, I found two gardening books old enough to pique my interest. First up is the Home Owners’ Complete Garden Handbook “by “top-ranking authority John Hayes Melady,” whoever he was (book didn’t say).  But look – the book is actually...

Read more in: Books
Posted by on October 2, 2014 at 8:15 am

A Testament to the Spirit of the Gardener

Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray I try not to judge gardener-created art or design because I feel so much of it is subjective.  We all have different tastes.  However, the only aspect I do constantly question is the “fortress look” in deer protection I wrote about here. Today I...

Read more in: Guest Rants
Posted by Wendy Kiang-Spray on September 30, 2014 at 8:08 am

Foliage watch

Leaf tourists had better get moving. My unscientific observations, based on a weekend trip south of Buffalo, indicate that peak—at least around here—seems days, rather than weeks away. We were surrounded by red and gold during the drive down and back from Ellicottville, New York, which is ski central...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on September 29, 2014 at 8:24 am

When Wildlife Gardens Look Like Gardens

Many of you wildlife gardeners will recognize the name Pat Sutton. She’s the Cape May, NJ-based naturalist who’s developed quite a following among people interested in gardening for wildlife, a group whose numbers she adds to with every class or tour she leads. I attended Pat’s Tour of Private...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Potfuls of Coleus

Like Ivette, I ignore the ubiquitous Thriller-Filler-Spiller advice for container plantings – because the more species in a single pot, the harder it is to keep the thing looking good. Ditto getting it to look good in the first place. For me, containers look best simplified, like the 3...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

I’m the Thriller Filler Spiller Killer!

I hate rules. I mean really, I do. I always have. My brain won’t accept them. If someone tells me that THIS is the way to do a thing, I will try and find another way to do it. It may come from my years as an actor, and...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on September 24, 2014 at 2:17 am

A fall manifesto: enjoy the mess

Twice a year, at the beginning and end of the growing season, gardeners are exhorted to do various tasks that will—in spring—prepare the garden for the plantings to come, and—in fall—shut down the garden to protect it from the depredations of winter. Some of these jobs are necessary, but...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on September 22, 2014 at 8:07 am

Give me spots on my apples and holes in my sweet potato vine

Remember the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot? Every organic gardener’s favorite line is surely “Give me spots on my apples. But leave me the birds and the bees. Please!” So, when people notice the insect holes in the sweet potato vine...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on September 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

Death Enhances a Garden

Death plays a significant role in my garden, and in so many ways, it makes the garden more interesting. Death provides comfort. I don’t routinely snip or snap off dead flower heads, not even the large dahlia blooms that stand on their stems brown and bedraggled for weeks. I...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Real Gardens
Posted by on September 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

A hard act to follow

But at least he agrees with me on one of my most cherished gardening principles. I was privileged to be on the same bill with David Culp at Rochester’s Gathering of Gardeners on Saturday, and I can assure you that I was as entranced as the rest of the...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on September 15, 2014 at 8:38 am

Late-Summer Scenes from DC

At the National Arboretum in late August: Joe-Pye Weed and Crapemyrtle blooming in the Gotelli Dwarf Conifer Collection. Behind a wildflower meadow, the Capitol Columns.  They once held up the U.S. Capitol. Around the Friendship House, plant and design ideas for residential gardens. In the National Gallery’s Scultpure Garden...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on September 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

Partying with the Friends House Gardeners

GardenRant has a core of engaged readers who comment on our posts (and we thank you!) but the other 2,000 or so daily readers are unknown to us. So it was a nice surprise to be contacted out of the blue by Rant reader Lucille Ridlon, inviting me to...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on September 12, 2014 at 7:50 am

No Thanks to Flaming Autumn

Guest Rant by Jane Scorer I know what is just around the corner… I can guess what I will be reading about, any time soon…the joys of the autumn and winter garden, that’s what. There will be pages about flaming autumn colour, and we will be encouraged to buy...

Read more in: Guest Rants
Posted by Jane Scorer on September 11, 2014 at 7:19 am

Driving Alaska with My Three Miss Daisies

  Bears loomed large last month in Alaska, but there was more danger lurking for a scrapulation.* Close quarters and too much family togetherness always make for a menacing vacation threat. Rose, my daughter Molly, granddaughter Story and I spent ten days driving around south central Alaska. I’m happy...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on September 10, 2014 at 5:37 am

The good and the bad from the Brits

Many of us have a love/hate affair with gardening advice and essays that come from across the Atlantic.  There is always love, of course, for this mothership of great estate gardens, internationally known garden events, and giants of gardening design and literature like  Gertrude Jekyll, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Pearson,...

Read more in: Books, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on September 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

Support this Lawn-to-Prairie Make-Over

Friend-of-Rant Benjamin Vogt wrote to tell me about his exciting new project on Indiegogo -ripping out his front lawn and replacing it with a wildlife garden that he’ll use to spread the word about how beautiful wildlife and native-plant gardens can be – even in front yards.  He went...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on September 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm
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