Ministry of Controversy, Science Says

The Mysterious Case of the Orange Petunia

  If you’re growing an orange petunia this summer, you may be one of the lucky ones. Or the afflicted ones. Orangish petunias were taken off the market several weeks ago, in Europe, when a Finnish watchdog agency, Evira, announced they had discovered that the summer flowering annual had been genetically modified. Frankenflowers? The USDA […]

Posted by  on May 24, 2017 at 8:02 am.   This post has 16 responses.

Chanticleer, the Modern Gardener’s Garden

Serious gardeners love to hate Butchart Gardens, Canada’s most famous public garden, and I’ll cop to being one of the haters. It’s blindingly colorful and the very opposite of naturalistic, the gardening style popular today. I wonder if people who love the Butchart style could also appreciate a very modern, sophisticated,...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on May 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

Crazy petunias—what do we think?

Sometimes, I look at my Facebook feed to get inspiration for a post, and this morning yielded a pretty good batch. Peat moss! Back in the news. Oh, here’s a lame tulip video I made back in 2009 (won’t be resharing that). And—this just in, breaking news: according to...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 16, 2017 at 9:07 am

Portrait of a Garden

I had, when I studied horticulture back in the 1970’s, the good fortune to be exposed to the last generation of a great gardening tradition.   At the New York Botanical Garden, where I was a student, there were still a number of elderly gardeners who had been trained on...

Read more in: CRRRITIC
Posted by on May 15, 2017 at 8:15 am

Backyard Labyrinths Trending?

Labyrinths are on the rise, especially at schools and churches, but ones in home gardens like this will never catch on, I predict. That’s because it needs weekly careful mowing, plus frequent pre-edging, so it’s definitely a high-maintenance item. And there’s the expense, too – this one cost $13,000!...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on May 12, 2017 at 9:16 am

Always Dreaming

Long lines at the betting window last weekend were not my concern. I piddled around on Derby Day at home—on the couch and in the garden. I dodged rain showers outside, while inside I sidestepped heavy grazing on beef tenderloin, country ham, corn pudding and my niece’s cookies. I...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, What's Happening
Posted by on May 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

When trees come in handy

In our part of the world (and a lot of other places), the weather news has been simple: pouring rain, day in and day out. It just started to let up over the weekend. Rain is supposed to be good news for gardeners, but you’d never know it from...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on May 9, 2017 at 8:51 am

A Taraxacum officinale Grower Reveals Her Secrets

Guest Post by Amy Campion We were getting ready to go to the Hortlandia Plant Sale, when Scott and I saw it. Its blossoms glowed like pure sunshine. “Oh, my God,” I said. “Is that…?” Heather nodded. “Taraxacum officinale,” Scott said breathlessly. I realized then that Heather had been...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Amy Campion on May 7, 2017 at 7:58 am

Meet the New On-Camera Gardening Guru

Laura LeBoutillier was working at her parents’ garden center in Eastern Oregon, and husband Aaron was working at the local cable company. Their lives changed when Aaron bought a new camera that happened to also take video and a relative suggested he use it to make instructional ones with...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People, Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on May 5, 2017 at 6:05 am

Quit throwing out the scary stuff: compost it instead!

As I emptied buckets of human waste into a bin filled with red wigglers, the realization hit me: I had reached peak compost. This was it. Eggshells and hair were just gateway drugs. Later I got into the hard stuff: moldy lasagna, spoiled stew, roadkill… And now here I...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Science Says, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by David the Good on May 4, 2017 at 8:00 am

The Run from the Roses

I run from roses until mid-April, when my mood changes, as the Kentucky Derby grows near. The Run for the Roses turns me tenderhearted toward roses. It’s complicated. We have two disease-ravaged and bug-eaten pitiful roses in our garden. I should back up for a second. I’m married to...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, What's Happening
Posted by on May 3, 2017 at 7:01 am

The Science of Gardening

Despite the cold rain, Saturday April 22nd was a great time to be walking the streets of Washington D.C.  The occasion for my outing was the March for Science, and there were tens of thousands of self-described nerds thronging Constitution Avenue on the approach the Capitol.  Included, besides myself...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on May 1, 2017 at 8:06 am

3 Examples of a Pro-Science Movement in Gardening – Are There More?

The press release below touts a “New Pro-Science Movement in Gardening” based on the popularity of the Garden Professors, the curation project Good Gardening Videos, and the Garden Writers Association’s new science-writing award. Know of any more examples? Or on the contrary, do you know of any blowback from...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on April 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm

I hate being a gardening know-it-all

And the funny thing is that I’m really not. I’m not a master gardener, a CNLP, or any kind of horticultural professional. I’m just a writer/editor who loves to garden, geek out on gardening books, and keep up with new ways of thinking about traditional garden practice. And, yes,...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on April 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

Olfactory Overload

I’ve been spending more time of late wandering our eight-acre landscape both because after 42 years here I keep finding old plants I too often overlook, and, more important, the chances are very slim I’ll find an aircraft carrier either on its way to Australia or North Korea. Gardening...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by on April 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm

The Wrong Way to Teach Eco-Friendly Gardening

I recently attended a “Green Yards and Gardens” talk in my town. The intern giving the talk was more knowledgeable than I expected, but the topics covered were no surprise: natives, invasives, pesticides, composting, and rain barrels, the usual bullet points. Afterward I asked some attendees I knew how...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on April 21, 2017 at 8:05 am

Pollen, Politics and Doomsday Prep

I’ve been a careless victim of too many late nights in my past, but knocking back shots of Bourbon into the wee hours did not redden my eyes this spring. Pollen is the culprit. The warm late winter and early spring brought flowers into bloom earlier than usual. And...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on April 19, 2017 at 7:28 am

Garden variety hellebores are still the best

Like many shade gardeners, I am in love with hellebores. They start flowering in March (or earlier) and some stay in bloom right into May. Deer, though not a problem for me, hate them; it’s easy to figure out why—just grab a handful of the plant’s sharp, raspy foliage....

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on April 18, 2017 at 9:12 am

Starting from Seed

Real gardeners, compulsive gardeners, are up to their elbows in seedlings this time of year.  We (I qualify at least as compulsive) have a number of rationales for starting from seed. To begin with, it’s economical, the only way we can afford all the plants we want.  For the...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig, Uncategorized
Posted by on April 17, 2017 at 8:31 am

Garden Photographer of the Year Winners

A local photography friend sent me a link to the International Garden Photographer of the Year, which bills itself as “the world’s premier competition and exhibition specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography,” now in its 10th year. The competition works with Kew Gardens and the winners are...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on April 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm
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