Grab Bag, Real Gardens

Favorite places in town, including my new garden

On a local blog I write I thanked Greenbelt Maryland for 3 fabulous years there this month.  Then I went on to post photos of my favorite places – none farther than a slow 10-minute walk from my house – with some commentary. I’m celebrating my 3-year anniversary by posting photos of some of my favorite places […]

Posted by  on December 29, 2014 at 11:07 am.   This post has 15 responses.

How Public Gardens get Gorgeous for the Holidays

Most people assume that gardens can’t look good in the winter – at least where there IS winter.  But Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Northern Virginia is here to disprove that notion, with photos by their volunteer “resident photographer,” Tom Stovall.  First, some shots of their Winter Walk of Lights,...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on December 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

A welcome ban

Large-scale environmental issues are not always considered appropriate subject matter in the garden blogging world, but I’ve never been able to see the reason.  Going from discussing the use of chemical solutions in a domestic landscape to the use of chemical solutions injected at high pressure in a rural...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on December 23, 2014 at 9:14 am

National Arboretum in November

Fans of the Arb know it’s gorgeous all year ’round.  November, for sure.  Here’s a quick Animoto video with the evidence.

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on December 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Novel ecosystems vs. urban wilderness

I’ve been thinking about a symposium (“The Changing Nature of Nature in Cities”) I attended at the New York Botanical Garden in November.   The topic  of the symposium was “novel ecosystems” – fundamentally, this is the idea that some ecosystems, especially urban ones, have been so radically transformed that...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on December 19, 2014 at 8:30 am

Welcome New Ranter Thomas Christopher!

We’re all pleased as punch to announce an exciting new addition to our roster of GardenRant partners – Thomas Christopher, a horticultural journalist with 30 years under his belt, contributor to the New York Times, the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, Martha Stewart Living and many other publications. Thomas...

Read more in: Who's Ranting About Us
Posted by on December 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Sign me up for a green burial, and make it decades from now

I recently attended a viewing and discussion of Dying Green, a short documentary about conservation or “green” burial, which I’d never heard of before.  Here’s the trailer. I’d always thought burial plots had to look like this: During my lifetime, in the U.S., they did, though much earlier in...

Read more in: Grab Bag
Posted by on December 18, 2014 at 8:39 am

Treasure the Winter Farmer’s Market

My heart goes out to urban dwellers with no access to a winter Farmer’s Market. Just as the twinkle lights on trees and houses offer comforting pinpoints of light in the dark winter nights, farm stands with freshly made products remind us that good local foods (not to mention...

Read more in: Drink This, Eat This, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on December 17, 2014 at 12:50 am

A meadow’s tale

The first thing I did after I bought the farm was quit mowing the grass. The property is ten acres with a nice rolling aspect, some very good old trees, and a dark deep pond for fishing. The assortment of buildings include a Victorian farmhouse, a big party barn,...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by David McMullin on December 16, 2014 at 8:15 am

Don’t be a bad botanical gardens board member like me

At the end of this year, I will have completed my two allotted terms on the board of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. I use the strictly technical meaning of the term “completed.” My name has appeared on the list of board of directors on the BECBG...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on December 15, 2014 at 9:08 am

Presidentially appointed but unpaid landscape architects making our spaces better

Here in DC, big projects that affect the look of Washington and our enjoyment thereof must be approved by all sorts of agencies, but my favorite and the one I’ve seen make the most improvements through their review is the oddly named U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.  Its website...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on December 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

The Seven Deadly Sins of Landscaping – Sinners Beware!

Guest Rant by Lori Hawkins Just as Dante identified the seven deadly sins in his Inferno, so we will explore the cardinal sins of the landscaping world.  Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride are all alive and well!  They will all be identified with examples of the...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Guest Rants
Posted by Lori Hawkins on December 11, 2014 at 7:21 am

Deep-Rooted Wisdom for the Holidays

     I skipped Black Friday again this year. I shop at Christmastime only under duress, but as days grow shorter, my noose tightens. Yuletide suffocation draws nigh. There is no way I’m going to the mall, but I hate to be all Bah! Humbug! This year I found a holiday remedy to...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on December 10, 2014 at 5:01 am

Meadow Day in Maryland

Meadows are HOT these days, thanks to anti-lawn sentiments, concern for pollinators, and some smart designers and plant researchers.  I encountered all of the above one day last month. University of Maryland at College Park First I attended a talk+tour at the University of Maryland about the meadows on...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Lawn Reform, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on December 5, 2014 at 9:44 am

Winter Soundscapes

Winter offers less visual stimulation. I find myself noticing smells and sounds more. Maybe it’s just that every little bit of sensory input is more important, there being less overall. For the most part, it is a season of quiet. Snow and fog muffle the sounds of vehicles. People...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on December 3, 2014 at 2:01 am

In lieu of

Sad fact—as the years go by, there are more wakes and funerals to attend. Increasingly, we have been recognizing the passings of friends and relatives, or supporting our friends and relatives in their losses. Acknowledging death is just another part of living, but it’s not one of my favorite...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on December 2, 2014 at 7:49 am

Lawn Alternative Update from the Scott Arboretum

Years ago I visited the Scott Arboretum to learn about alternatives to lawn and see the ones they were growing there.  (Here’s my 2008 report.)  Last month I returned for another event but made time to revisit their lawn-alt plants, too.  (Wonder if we can get that term to...

Read more in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on November 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm

New Roots is Planting Seeds of Change for Refugees in America

Guest post by Kimberly Bryant What difference can a garden make? To newly arrived refugees in America, the answer is plenty. It’s no secret that gardening is a pleasant way for the average person to get in touch with nature, but it holds an even deeper meaning for those...

Read more in: Eat This, Guest Rants
Posted by Kimberly Bryant on November 27, 2014 at 7:53 am


This year is a special year for me. The day after Thanksgiving, I will celebrate half a century on this planet, so I am being extra thankful. I am thankful that one day, 22 years ago, I walked outside of my newly purchased home and started looking at the...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on November 26, 2014 at 12:44 am

Lake effect

Weather—we gardeners live and die by it. It may be a universal favorite as a water cooler topic, but when the chat is over, most can pretty much forget about it and move on. Not if you’re a gardener. Even now, when the work of the season is over,...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on November 24, 2014 at 8:00 am
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