Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig

Borrowing stones and scenery

Even in New England the snow is melting and soon I will be confronted with what the winter – and the plow truck – have done to my stone walls.  I take a particular pride in these, not because they are such beautiful specimens of the craft, but because I built them.  It seemed an […]

Posted by  on March 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm.   This post has 11 responses.

Let’s Spread the Word about Public Gardens in D.C. and Elsewhere

I just donated to help fund a website that showcases DC-area gardens, a project spearheaded by fellow Ranter Susan Harris. Wherever I go, I visit gardens; no doubt many of you fellow gardeners do too. And sometimes it is difficult to quickly figure out which public gardens are near...

Read more in: Public Gardens, What's Happening
Posted by on March 18, 2015 at 12:15 am

What Makes Cities Attractive, and our Intellectual Confusion about Beauty

Pertinent to our discussions here of garden criticism – right or wrong – enjoy this video by architecture writer Alain de Botton.  At about 11:15 he gets to the “first obstacle to beautiful cities” – the intellectually confused position that no one has the right to say what’s pretty...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on March 14, 2015 at 7:58 am

MY Trip to the Philly Flower Show

Boy, do we cover the Philadelphia Flower Show here – with a guest post, a guest photographer, and now with my very personal experience of the show – which was not the greatest, and all my fault. First, some meeting and greeting. White House floral designer Laura Dowling demonstrated...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 13, 2015 at 8:14 am

Washington Post Gives Nice Boost to DC Gardens and its local supporters are loving the feature about it in the Washington Post this week. Reporter John Kelly chatted me up for an hour and then called a photographer I recruited to join the cause after spying him with his tripod and expensive camera at the National...

Read more in: Public Gardens, Who's Ranting About Us
Posted by on March 12, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Scenes from the Philadelphia Flower Show

It was a great year for the Philadelphia Flower Show, and local photographer Ashley Youwakim is sharing with Rant readers her shots from the show. Captions by Ashley, too. The show’s theme, “Celebrate the Movies,” scattered large cinematic screens that projected clips from an assortment of films.  As the...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 12, 2015 at 9:02 am

Whitewashed Tree Trunks: The Unvarnished Story

After a few swipes on Aunt Polly’s plank fence, Tom Sawyer  tired of painting whitewash. So it doesn’t surprise me that there’s no hint, in Mark Twain’s novel, that Tom took a paintbrush to tree trunks. I have been intrigued with this peculiar cultural phenomenon since I was Tom...

Read more in: But is it Art?, What's Happening
Posted by on March 11, 2015 at 7:43 am

The Annual Buying (and subsequent killing) of the Air Plant and Plumeria Stick

Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray Having been to the Philadelphia Flower Show for many years in a row now, my annual trip has taken on a really wonderful rhythm and familiarity. My friend Grace is tiny and swift. Her job is to zip in and out through the crowds while...

Read more in: Guest Rants, What's Happening
Posted by Wendy Kiang-Spray on March 10, 2015 at 9:07 am

They have gardens in Canada, too!

Just kidding. I’ve been enjoying my proximity to the cosmopolitan delights of Toronto and the beauties of Ontario’s Niagara region for decades, and now I invite fellow bloggers to do the same. The next Garden Bloggers Fling takes place June 5-8 in Toronto and environs. We’ll see gardens on...

Read more in: Public Gardens, Real Gardens, What's Happening
Posted by on March 9, 2015 at 5:24 am

The Power of Naming

In my last column, I admitted I prefer my own garden to Garden Shows, though it does depend on how far under the snow my garden is buried at the time the shows are happening. Symposia, on the other hand, are special treats. I invariably find them valuable, especially...

Read more in: Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on March 6, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Donate to DC Gardens – Even if you Live Somewhere Else!

Crowd-sourcing for the DC Gardens media campaign starts NOW!  Click here to see the video, the “story,” the team (more members being added today), and the “impacts.” If you’re local to the DC area: Browse images and videos of our 12 destinations gardens by month. Use our Deep Local...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on March 2, 2015 at 8:07 am

Let us now praise evergreens

The more I garden, the more I want plants that look like something all year – namely evergreens.  Compared to the much flashier flowering plants, they’re pretty underwhelming at the garden centers but boy, do I appreciate them right about now. Take, for example, this scene just outside my...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on February 27, 2015 at 8:38 am

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Chunky Gravel And Indifferently Chosen Plants

**Trigger Warning*** This is a rant, and the images that follow may be unpleasant to some. They certainly are to ME. A bit of background to set the stage: Los Angeles is in a severe drought. Considering the fact that Los Angeles is a city built in a desert...

Read more in: CRRRITIC, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on February 24, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Me generation, 2.0

Why can’t people do whatever they want with their own property? This is America, after all. Yes. But individual volition, as essential as that is, depends on a delicate relationship between the desires of the one and the comfort of all. It’s an ongoing debate, and I hear snippets...

Read more in: Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 24, 2015 at 8:52 am

How to Barter Gardening Expertise for Home Repairs and Soup

Timebanks are being created all across the U.S. so that people can help members of their community in whatever way they can, and get help in return, though probably not from the person they helped. Hours spent helping are banked, and all skills are treated the same. Timebanks are...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on February 20, 2015 at 9:48 am

Poor Man’s Fertilizer

As I contemplate the task of plowing the driveway, I find it hard to see anything appealing in last night’s snowfall.  It seemed to me that we already had plenty of the white stuff, with a blanket some 14 inches deep.  However, I’m trying to console myself with the...

Read more in: Science Says
Posted by on February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm

The Best Garden Show of All

I don’t enjoy ranting and would much rather rave — about, for example, the glorious iridescent slug traceries on the pavers of my courtyard this morning. However, that will have to wait for some future date, because today’s topic is home and garden shows. My tendency has been to...

Read more in: Taking Your Gardening Dollar, What's Happening
Posted by on February 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm

Messy gardens—they’re a trend!

Trend reports are kind of trivial in the grand scheme of things—we can all agree on that. But they can also be interesting, entertaining, or both. Or maybe they just reinforce things we’d like to see happen, regardless if they really do or not. For example, I like to...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on February 16, 2015 at 8:00 am

Talking up Gardens at the Visitors Bureau

Most public gardens in DC are little known to locals and never promoted to visitors (in contrast to the super-hyped cherry trees or to be exact, their short-lived blossoms).  And unlike most cities, our large, popular gardens are FREE.  Sadly, they don’t have the funds to let people know...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on February 13, 2015 at 8:22 am

My Epigenetic Epiphany and the Gingko Hermaphrodite

  High up in a white pine last summer, on our farm in Salvisa, Kentucky, I spotted something odd. I called my neighbor Otis Knox and asked him if he’d ever seen a Witches’ Broom. He came down to investigate. I pointed toward the 30” diameter growth. Otis said...

Read more in: Science Says, What's Happening
Posted by on February 11, 2015 at 6:20 am
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