CRRRITIC, Everybody's a Critic, Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Real Gardens, Science Says

The Monsters Among Us

Happy Halloween. I hope to really scare you. Because there ARE monsters. There are things that are truly frightening in our world, and we gardeners are on the front lines, either fighting these forces of evil, or being victimized by them. OR, we stand by and do nothing… and to my mind that is really […]

Posted by  on October 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm.   This post has 76 responses.

Gardening politics through the centuries

Thanks to a couple of fascinating new releases from Frances Lincoln, Katie Campbell’s British Gardens in Time and George Plumptre’s The English Country House Garden, I’ve beginning to add some dimensions to my starry-eyed reverence for the great English gardens. The reverence is still there, but now it’s accompanied...

Read more in: Books, CRRRITIC
Posted by on October 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

Confessions of a Garden Conservancy Open Day Volunteer

Before I get to the confessions, a short tour of the four fabulous DC-area gardens open to the public through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Gardens Program.  (And thanks to local APLD VP Carolyn Mullet for making it happen.) The home and garden above and in the next three photos are modern in...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 24, 2014 at 9:09 am

Ellen DeGeneres ISO Gardener

Anyone following Nick the Gardener on the Ellen Show knows that she helped him  land a part in a sequel to the Magic Mike movie. So now she’s looking for a new gardener – click here to apply.  Must be “hot, strong, and have that extra somethin’ somethin’.” I’m not a...

Read more in: I Don't Have a Garden, but I Watch One on TV
Posted by on October 23, 2014 at 7:33 am

Trashing Out with Kudzu and ‘Sherman’s Ghost’

Kudzu is the poster child for invasive plants. The vine that gobbled up more than seven million acres in the south became the unintended consequence of the USDA’s plan to stop erosion. When African-Americans, in 1910, began their migration from the rural south to northern cities, the vine would...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 22, 2014 at 6:15 am

Amsonia, Aster and Capital Columns at the National Arboretum

I’ve been waiting eagerly for these plants to reach their peak of fall color and yesterday they dee-livered!  After posting this on Facebook I learned that the designer is well-known plantswoman Angela Treadwell-Palmer.  Great example of the kind of native-plant design being promoted by Thomas Rainer, who just turned...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm

It’s Probably My Elephant

Guest Rant by Joe Schmitt  They say a garden dies with the gardener, but mine has other plans:  Step one, reaching through my window and strangling me in my sleep.  The rest will be easy.  Consume my house, head next door, finish off the rest of the block and...

Read more in: Guest Rants
Posted by Joe Schmitt on October 18, 2014 at 7:52 am

From Lawn to Portrait in Sand to Soccer Field

For just this month a 6-acre strip of lawn on the National Mall has been turned into a portrait in sand and dirt by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada called “Out of Many, One.” Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, it’s a composite of many ethnic groups, a generic face of Americans. About...

Read more in: But is it Art?
Posted by on October 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Laissez-faire Garden Design: A Long Conversation with Nature

My style of gardening proceeds like an ongoing conversation between gardener and Nature. Here is how that conversation might go when choosing plants for a new garden. If the gardener has enough experience to realize how important listening is to this conversation, the first step will be taking time...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on October 15, 2014 at 5:03 am

Hail the anti-mums

Actually, I do have two gigantic pots of mums that were purchased from a work colleague’s kid (to fund a soccer team or something). At only $8 each, they are way huge for their tiny pots—indeed scarily so. (I have to think they’re overfertilized.) Nonetheless, I brought them home...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 13, 2014 at 7:42 am

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...

Read more in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on October 10, 2014 at 9:26 am

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
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