It's the Plants, Darling

Let us now praise evergreens

The more I garden, the more I want plants that look like something all year – namely evergreens.  Compared to the much flashier flowering plants, they’re pretty underwhelming at the garden centers but boy, do I appreciate them right about now. Take, for example, this scene just outside my living room window, the window I […]

Posted by  on February 27, 2015 at 8:38 am.   This post has 10 responses.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Chunky Gravel And Indifferently Chosen Plants

**Trigger Warning*** This is a rant, and the images that follow may be unpleasant to some. They certainly are to ME. A bit of background to set the stage: Los Angeles is in a severe drought. Considering the fact that Los Angeles is a city built in a desert...

Read more in: CRRRITIC, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on February 24, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Me generation, 2.0

Why can’t people do whatever they want with their own property? This is America, after all. Yes. But individual volition, as essential as that is, depends on a delicate relationship between the desires of the one and the comfort of all. It’s an ongoing debate, and I hear snippets...

Read more in: Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 24, 2015 at 8:52 am

How to Barter Gardening Expertise for Home Repairs and Soup

Timebanks are being created all across the U.S. so that people can help members of their community in whatever way they can, and get help in return, though probably not from the person they helped. Hours spent helping are banked, and all skills are treated the same. Timebanks are...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on February 20, 2015 at 9:48 am

Poor Man’s Fertilizer

As I contemplate the task of plowing the driveway, I find it hard to see anything appealing in last night’s snowfall.  It seemed to me that we already had plenty of the white stuff, with a blanket some 14 inches deep.  However, I’m trying to console myself with the...

Read more in: Science Says
Posted by on February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm

The Best Garden Show of All

I don’t enjoy ranting and would much rather rave — about, for example, the glorious iridescent slug traceries on the pavers of my courtyard this morning. However, that will have to wait for some future date, because today’s topic is home and garden shows. My tendency has been to...

Read more in: Taking Your Gardening Dollar, What's Happening
Posted by on February 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm

Messy gardens—they’re a trend!

Trend reports are kind of trivial in the grand scheme of things—we can all agree on that. But they can also be interesting, entertaining, or both. Or maybe they just reinforce things we’d like to see happen, regardless if they really do or not. For example, I like to...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on February 16, 2015 at 8:00 am

Talking up Gardens at the Visitors Bureau

Most public gardens in DC are little known to locals and never promoted to visitors (in contrast to the super-hyped cherry trees or to be exact, their short-lived blossoms).  And unlike most cities, our large, popular gardens are FREE.  Sadly, they don’t have the funds to let people know...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on February 13, 2015 at 8:22 am

My Epigenetic Epiphany and the Gingko Hermaphrodite

  High up in a white pine last summer, on our farm in Salvisa, Kentucky, I spotted something odd. I called my neighbor Otis Knox and asked him if he’d ever seen a Witches’ Broom. He came down to investigate. I pointed toward the 30” diameter growth. Otis said...

Read more in: Science Says, What's Happening
Posted by on February 11, 2015 at 6:20 am

The man for woody plants—Michael Dirr

The true celebrities of the world of horticulture don’t appear on HGTV or gladhand  at home and garden shows. They’re busy discovering new plants, undertaking research projects, and writing the reference books that form the backbone of every serious gardener’s library. I knew that Michael Dirr was considered the...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on February 9, 2015 at 7:55 am

Mulch Ado About Nothing

Spotted in Easton, MD:  a properly mulched street tree!  This is a sighting as rare as that of a Yeti – in fact, every other tree on that street sported the usual volcano of mulch heaped up against the tree’s trunk.    Why just the one triumph of good horticultural...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

You can Help Bring “Hometown Habitat” to the Screen

I’m guessing you all know Doug Tallamy, the entomologist whose Bringing Nature Home turned so many people into native-plant gardeners.  Now there’s a chance that a full-length documentary with Tallamy featuring interviews of inspiring “Habitat Heroes” will become a reality.  Especially if you donate. The movie, called “Hometown Habitat”...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on February 6, 2015 at 6:33 am

Tracking Tales

Garden wildlife reminds me of teenagers – the critters eat distressingly huge meals then typically leave without communicating about what they have been up to.   Except in wintertime, when they leave a tale of tracks in the snow. I’m no great tracker, but with the help of my Peterson Field...

Read more in: Grab Bag, Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on February 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

Gratitude in the Eye of this Storm

This week I’m in a flurry — finalizing talks, sending off handouts and invoices, and making the last travel arrangements for presentations at spring events across the country. It’s amazing to think ahead to April when, having logged dozens of hours in transit, I will (if all goes well)...

Read more in: Taking Your Gardening Dollar, What's Happening
Posted by on February 4, 2015 at 4:54 am

Hostile or Helpful?

by Marianne Wilburn Recently, C.L. Fornari challenged garden writers to consider the way in which we portray the act of gardening.  She asked us to discuss whether our tendency to proclaim the virtues (meditation, creativity, exercise) might be greater than our desire to tell the truth about the work...

Read more in: Guest Rants
Posted by Marianne Willburn on February 2, 2015 at 7:56 am

Scotts Miracle-Gro, you can stop asking.

Dear readers, I went through my in-box and discovered some delicious hate-reading!  Ready? First, from somehow actually hired by Scotts Miracle-Gro to promote them, pasted below with commentary in brackets. Hi Susan, I’m reaching out on behalf of Scotts Miracle Grow to see if you have 30 minutes...

Read more in: Books, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on January 30, 2015 at 8:18 am

The Siren Song of Seeds

by Amanda Morris, Ph.D. Super Sugar Snap. Queen Lime, Dancing Girls, and Color Crackle Zinnias. Chantenay Carrots. Moulin Rouge Beets. Mardi Gras Radishes. Neon Lights Swiss Chard. Just listen to the party; a lively, colorful, tasty Spring party destined for my garden beds and pots (and dinner plates). I...

Read more in: Guest Rants
Posted by Dr. Amanda Morris on January 29, 2015 at 8:31 am

Inside Outside

  Holy Sissinghurst, Batman!!! There is a way of making gardens that I feel has run its course. It has reached its zenith, its apex, its apotheosis. It can go no further. It has gone far enough. Too far. I speak of the Outdoor Room. Let me be clear....

Read more in: But is it Art?, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on January 28, 2015 at 10:33 am

Winter Interest Battle, Round III: Revenge of the Bulbs

Over the last few posts, this discussion has partially devolved (in comments at least) into climate comparisons and other weather-related talk. Such is the nature of online conversations, but just to reiterate, I’m merely saying that for me, where I live, designing my outside garden for winter interest, as...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on January 25, 2015 at 11:17 am

Shout-out to 2 A-Way-to-Garden Podcasts

Here’s some winter interest for ya – catching up with gardening podcasts!  Which I don’t believe we’ve mentioned here on the Rant since 2010, so it’s high time, with this being called the Golden Age of Podcasts and all.  And did iPhone users notice that the newest version of the...

Read more in: Tune In
Posted by on January 23, 2015 at 8:28 am
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