Unusually Clever People, What's Happening

*Fate Loves the Fearless: The Perennial Divine

A Pentecostal snake handler fell victim to natural selection in Middlesboro, Kentucky, on the same weekend I was attending a horticultural conference in Grünberg, Germany. Pity the poor pastor. The folks in Grünberg know better: Perennials are perfectly divine and much easier to handle than poisonous snakes. Mary Vaananen, my Jelitto Perennial Seeds colleague, and I […]

Posted by  on March 12, 2014 at 7:42 am.   This post has 5 responses.

Keeping me sane

As the winter winds to its possible close, here are some images of my indoor gardening efforts. These Madame Sophie hyacinths have a looser flowering habit than others, but they’re quite charming. Splendid Cornelia in forcing glasses   Vuurbank hyacinths Strangely, non-tazetta narcissus take just as long to force...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

The Designer, Post-Makeover, Launches this Week

The smartypants team at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers has something fabulous for us all, and it’s free.  It’s their totally new and stunning digital magazine The Designer, which launches later this week. (But you can subscribe now.)  I got a sneak peak and can attest to the...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, What's Happening
Posted by on March 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

“Best Philadelphia Flower Show Ever”

With the theme of Articulture – the interpretation of art through horticulture – this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show (the oldest continuing and largest indoor flower show in the world) is being raved about.  One rave by Susan Cohan caught my attention because she’s no pushover.  But the “best ever”...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 7, 2014 at 10:15 am

After the Storm, Chores

The nor’easter that roared up the East Coast recently dumped another foot of snow on our part of Upstate New York. I found myself struggling through drifts thigh-high to get to my livestock. Our yearling goat, Tanner, stepped out of her shed into snow up to her neck. Her...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 6, 2014 at 6:14 am

A Courtyard Garden Promotes Pondering

My understanding of a place dawns slowly. Occasionally I design a garden, and it is a ponderous and effortful activity because it doesn’t come easily to me. This has been brought home to me over and over as I struggle to set out the bones of my new garden....

Read more in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on March 5, 2014 at 3:45 am

The brand that dares not speak its name

Remember subliminal advertising? One of the books that exposed it is Subliminal Seduction, by Wilson Brian Key. The examples in the book use the eternal themes of sex and death to sell products. According to the book, imagery evoking these two themes appears in advertising (often deliberately inserted), thus...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on March 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

A Garden of Marvels Highlights and Giveaway

As promised, here’s a follow-up to Ruth Kassinger’s guest rant.  She wrote the very popular Paradise Under Glass and now A Garden of Marvels, which was published just this week. I don’t review many garden books because I passed the learning-to-garden phase years ago and of the few books...

Read more in: Science Says
Posted by on February 28, 2014 at 7:43 am

Down with Leylands!

Below, author Ruth Kassinger summarizes a chapter from her new book, A Garden of Marvels, published this week. Tomorrow we’ll have a book review and giveaway. Lately, with heavy snow here in suburban Maryland, I’ve had to keep an eye on my neighbor’s Leyland cypresses that stand in a...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Ruth Kassinger on February 27, 2014 at 8:22 am

Garden Variety SNARK

I was recently made aware of something that I had no idea about – it was said on an online garden writer’s forum that “The best garden tips are the snarky ones”. WHERE HAVE I BEEN PEOPLE??? If anyone is going to be giving snarky gardening tips, it better...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on February 26, 2014 at 1:27 am

This (see photo) will never be me: 10 years of orchid FAIL

It’s not that I’m actually killing them. I can keep the plants alive, no problem. Indeed, I am very proud of my houseplant success in general; I have a huge 13-year-old gardenia that bursts into bloom every summer and a jasmine almost that old that provides lovely fragrance from...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on February 24, 2014 at 8:00 am

Should Community Gardens be Organic-Only? What about Pesticide-Free?

As I recently mentioned here, the community gardeners in my town are fighting – with the treehuggers who don’t want the shade-producing trees nearby removed, and with each other over rules outlawing the use of synthetic gardening products.  And people wonder what’s there to rant about over gardening?  Ha!...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 21, 2014 at 8:36 am

Beware of the Wronged Coconuts!

Coconut palms are the quintessential symbol of tropical paradise. Spindly, tall trees with large feathery leaves wisp in tropical breezes on tropical beaches of white sand, under blue sky and by turquoise water. Beach in Hawaii with coconut palm tree. (cc) anda (: on Flickr. Up in the crown...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Lena Struwe on February 20, 2014 at 7:05 am

Do Trees Have Rights?

Let us consider the non-mobile, those who live at a slower speed than humans, those who conduct many “activities of daily living” underground. I’m talking about trees. Bound to its place place to a degree that most modern humans cannot comprehend, a tree must make do with only those...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 19, 2014 at 3:40 am

What I want in 2014

  Pardon the delay in my 2014 wish list. Here it is with one caveat—it’s really more of an impossible dream list. No more bug-of-the-months. There have been way too many overwrought scares about pests. Pests will always be with us. Rather than freak-out attacks on bugs like the...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on February 18, 2014 at 7:56 am

Garden and Nature Photos for the Snowbound Gardener

The winners of the International Garden Photographer of the Year  have apparently been announced, though from the website and press information online there’s no telling when that happened.  So this may not be news at all, but so what?  The images are a welcome sight as I look out...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on February 17, 2014 at 11:03 am

It’s Valentine’s Day. Do You Know Where Your Roses Came From?

Guest Rant by Debra Prinzing Earlier this week, Libby Francis-Baxter, owner of The Modest Florist in Baltimore, made headlines in the local media by announcing her plans for a rose-free Valentine’s Day. “I don’t support outsourcing flower production to South and Central America at the expense of our own...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on February 14, 2014 at 7:15 am

My Favorite Turfgrass? Sheep Fescue!

Guest post by Thomas Christopher Enhancing biodiversity is fundamental to transforming lawns from the polluted green deserts that they now are into the sustainable, environmentally constructive landscape features we desire.  For that reason, in my plantings I’ve avoided becoming too reliant on any one grass.  Instead, I try to...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Lawn Reform
Posted by Thomas Christopher on February 13, 2014 at 7:42 am

The Runaway Monk

  A memorial service was held for Joshua Brands on a cold, drizzly Friday morning in late November. Julie Breeding, Ken Eberhart, and I drove from Louisville to Bardstown, past the mottled sycamores along Cox’s Creek, and across the rolling countryside speckled with green cedars. Josh, a talented archivist, artist...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on February 12, 2014 at 7:37 am

Succulents are OUT? Oh, No They’re NOT

Guest rant by Debra Lee Baldwin, a rebuttal to Ivette Soler’s rant in which she expressed ennui about succulents and proposed that the plants’ popularity is diminishing. If anyone ought to be sick of succulents, it should be me, having spent a decade studying and photographing them, and twice...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Debra Lee Baldwin on February 11, 2014 at 7:39 am
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