Real Gardens

Beach Landscape Hits and Misses

Some people go to the beach to enjoy the ocean. I do that (a bit) but mostly find myself looking at plants, at gardens. So in late May I walked down the boardwalk at Rehoboth, Delaware  and stopped to admire the cedar-shake homes and especially the windswept plants that look just right at the ocean. Quite a […]

Posted by  on June 2, 2017 at 8:14 am.   This post has 9 responses.

But not for me

Some plants are just untouchable, iconic. Lilacs are among those plants. They’re immortalized in poetry, like “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Or glorious in cities, as in Rochester’s lilac festival or New York’s Cloisters. Yet, I removed two large lilacs from my property within two years of...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on June 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

A Whole Different Spin on Pot Planting

There have been very few opportunities for even the most avid of gardeners to plant bright red geraniums in an old, gray washing machine tub, so pay attention to this one. The story begins almost 45 years ago as Bob and Janet Hill, garden neophytes whose possessions included two...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on May 29, 2017 at 9:48 am

Where Leaders for Public Gardens Come From

Last week I showed off my favorite views in Chanticleer Garden from a recent visit, promising a second post about the “good and important work that Chanticleer does.” So I’m back to spread the word about the behind-the-gorgeous-gardens stuff that goes on there, good works I had no notion...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on May 26, 2017 at 8:17 am

Once more in Buffalo—this time for the GWA

Those of you who belong to the Garden Writers Association know that its annual conference happens in Buffalo August 4–7. Here’s a video our local tourism agency and (the group that runs Garden Walk) made to help lure the conference. Not that it took much convincing. Many GWAers...

Read more in: Garden Walk Buffalo, Real Gardens
Posted by on May 25, 2017 at 9:41 am

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...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on May 24, 2017 at 8:02 am

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
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