Unusually Clever People

Catching up with Dr. A

It’s been a while! Horticulturalist, professor, breeder, and—as we know him best—author of Herbaceous Perennial Plants and many other standard texts on garden plants, Allan Armitage, has been absent from our blog pages for a couple years. I was happy to hear that he was the featured speaker at a Buffalo industry event—the annual Plant […]

Posted by  on February 8, 2016 at 10:38 am.   This post has 3 responses.

Plants for crazy sports fans? Sure, why not?

Mums potted up in Ravens and Redskins containers for that special football-plant lover in your life? Okay, not necessarily those teams – these were exhibited at a Baltimore trade show – but logos of winning teams are also available, and for college teams. They’re being marketed by a company called Sporticulture, started...

Read more in: Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on February 5, 2016 at 8:30 am

Home-Canned Tomatoes: A Tantalizing Taste of Nature in Winter

You may remember I’m an ultra-beginner at canning. Luckily, I am learning from my sister, who has spent years learning from others and experimenting to perfect her own techniques. Not to mention she has a large kitchen stocked with all the necessary equipment. So I give you Ultra-Beginner Tip...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Eat This
Posted by on February 3, 2016 at 2:09 am

Gardening information worthless to universities – unless someone else pays for it

Gardeners and garden communicators know Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott as a myth-buster, and as the Extension educator for Washington State. We know her as the author of How Plants Work and the GWA award-winning Informed Gardener, as co-founder of Garden Professors, the go-to blog for accurate information, with its 4,900-member strong Facebook group, which I recommend to...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on February 2, 2016 at 8:00 am

Seeds Give-Away

Contest Closed!   “Plant the Seeds, Frame the Art!” When Ken Greene founded the Hudson Valley Seed Library a dozen years ago at the Gardiner (NY) Library, it was the first seed library hosted by any public library in the United States. The concept was that patrons could borrow...

Read more in: But is it Art?, Grab Bag, Shut Up and Dig, Uncategorized
Posted by on February 1, 2016 at 7:58 am

Next in Garden Flag-Making: Rit Dyes and Stencils

I last wrote about finding a crafting coach for my garden flags and trying natural dyes from vegetables for my DYI flags. I confessed that next, I’d be trying artificial dyes (the ubiquitous Rit) because they’re easier, cheaper and much longer-lasting. Best of all, Rit comes in nine colors that...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on January 29, 2016 at 8:00 am

Reporting from Iowa

Guest Rant by Linda Larson, A Traveling Gardener This just in: Iowa has beautiful gardens and parks, with grand trees, roses, hostas, and lakes. Despite the frenzy of Iowa’s political caucuses, happy people are ice skating on the pond in Vander Veer Botanical Park and Conservatory in Davenport. They will...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Public Gardens
Posted by Linda Larson on January 28, 2016 at 6:56 am

Campaign News from the Des Moines Botanical Garden!

Still photo from video posted to CarlyforPresident. Well, this doesn’t happen every day, that a field trip by 4- and 5-year-olds to the local botanic garden winds up on national news. But it’s a garden in Iowa, which is swarming with presidential candidates right now, so anything can happen. Including...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on January 26, 2016 at 6:22 pm

There’s an upside to the white stuff

This post is for my friends and fellow gardeners on the East Coast and elsewhere who were hit by big weather over the weekend. These storms really are events now, as the media element has gotten much more prominent. Named and enthusiastically reported blizzards are here to stay. As...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on January 25, 2016 at 9:30 am

Why I’ve Rejoined Garden Writers

From left, Ashley Sullivan (GWA deputy exec. director), Louise Clarke (Regional VP of GWA), Maria Ungaro (GWA executive director). I’ve been a fair-weather friend to the Garden Writers Association for as long as I’ve been garden-writing, targeting my complaints at the management firm it paid to run everything. Like many...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on January 22, 2016 at 7:49 am

Landscapes with Healing Powers: Video Tribute to Lava Hot Springs

Occasionally we Ranters pay video tributes to our favorite public gardens, a lovely tradition begun by our own Susan Harris. Here’s a little video ode (videode?) to a sweet destination tucked away in the mountains of southern Idaho, the town of Lava Hot Springs. Hope you will be able...

Read more in: Public Gardens, Real Gardens
Posted by on January 20, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Learning to say goodbye—with pleasure

Death is  part of life, but this  fact is accepted with difficulty and nowhere more so than among gardeners. Perennials should be just that. Shrubs need to be so well chosen and expertly tended that they stand guard in foundation plantings for decades. Bulbs suck unless they come back...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on January 19, 2016 at 7:42 am

GMO Trees

Some time ago I wrote a post suggesting the need for genetic engineering to endow American trees with resistance to the introduced, non-native pests that are ravaging our forests.   Recently I learned about progress in a project designed to do precisely that. A century ago. the American chestnut was...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on January 18, 2016 at 10:57 am

Dyeing Prayer Flags with Plants, and How I Found a Crafting Coach

The very day I wrote about Prayer Flags in my Garden, complaining that they only come in primary colors, a neighbor volunteered to help me, writing on Facebook: If I wanted to do this as a craft to match my garden I would go buy some fabric and an...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on January 15, 2016 at 7:44 am

The Planetary Style and Wisdom of Norris, Clément and Lacy

We had heavy rains this Christmas season, with eerily warm temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The Salt River was swollen, while winter jasmines and even a few Asian cherries were in full bloom. The Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, delivered on a long-held promise to bloom on Christmas Day....

Read more in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on January 13, 2016 at 7:46 am

How about some weird wildflower seeds?

CONTEST CLOSED!!!!! Before Christmas, my husband and I had dinner with the wildflower queen herself, Miriam Goldberger, and her husband Paul Jenkins. We see them once or twice a year, because their company, Wildflower Farms, based in Coldwater, Ontario, has a Buffalo distribution center. After the events of 9/11/01...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on January 12, 2016 at 8:27 am

Flow Chart for the Gardening Revival

We love this graphic from garden writer (and activist) C. L. Fornari, the Garden Lady.  What she’s calling the “flow chart for the Gardening Revival” has been shared on garden blogs everywhere and over 1,300 times on Facebook alone.

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on January 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm

In remembrance of Allen Lacy

Sometimes a death can spark a renaissance and I am hoping that will be the case with Allen Lacy who died on December 27th at age 80.   I never knew him well – we spoke over the telephone on a number of occasions and I remember running into him...

Read more in: Books, CRRRITIC
Posted by on January 8, 2016 at 7:53 am

Are show gardens making us bad gardeners?

Here’s an interesting debate. Late in December, a post published on the American Society of Landscape Architects website by David Hopman opened an attack on unsustainable, resource/labor-intensive approaches to planting design and plant palettes, particularly in big public gardens. I agree with a lot of the post—after all, Hopman...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on January 7, 2016 at 8:00 am

Waterwise in New Mexico

Today’s Guest Rant by Hunter Ten Broeck, founder of the design firm WaterWise Landscapes based in Albuquerque, highlights an upcoming conference that has changed landscaping and water use patterns in New Mexico while building community. You’ll also get a peek at some regional waterwise gardens. It may surprise you...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by Hunter Ten Broeck on January 6, 2016 at 2:14 pm
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