Lawn Reform, Real Gardens

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. What is now my courtyard garden […]

Posted by  on March 5, 2014 at 3:45 am.   This post has 27 responses.

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

It’s cold, it’s white, it’s going on forever, and it’s not even killing the bugs

Some of us are having trouble remembering the benefits of a cold, snowy winter. Especially when the disadvantages are so omnipresent every day of single digit temps, slick roads with minimal visibility, and—always—shoveling. Buffalo went from around 30 inches of winter snowfall at this time last year to 90-plus...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on February 10, 2014 at 8:20 am

Cork-Popping and Other News

Hey folks!  I’ve been meaning to drop back in and explain my unexplained absence.  Well, now it’s official, and I can tell you:  I just signed a book deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a series of novels based on the true story of a woman in the early...

Read more in: Tune In
Posted by on February 8, 2014 at 5:23 am

Coming soon – Roundup-Ready Turfgrass

Photo via Shutterstock News from the garden-product company we love to hate – Scotts-MiracleGro, of course.  As reported here (via a Rant tipster) CEO Jim Hagedorn announced at the company’s annual meeting that it’s testing genetically modified grass seed (Kentucky bluegrass) that will withstand the large-scale spraying of the...

Read more in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on February 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

Believe it or Not: Rutabaga Souffle

Think of Thanksgiving dishes you most dread and mashed rutabaga probably springs first to mind. What was that vaguely bitter orange stuff Aunt Tilly was so fond of anyway? Outside Minnesota, rutabaga have all the appeal of a dead skunk on the highway. Or do you have to be...

Read more in: Eat This, Guest Rants
Posted by on February 6, 2014 at 8:37 am

The Public Food Forest: Clever Solution or Future Flop?

Public food forests are a shiny new trend in the United States. Focused on perennial crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees and shrubs, they embody the values of permaculture (which I’ve touted elsewhere) : generosity, abundance, good health and nutrition, and food security. If they are developed and...

Read more in: Feed Me, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on February 5, 2014 at 3:49 am
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