Eat This, Guest Rants

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Compost?

Guest Rant by Amy Campion  If we gardeners agree on anything, it’s that compost is wonderful stuff.  We can never have enough of it.  We make it ourselves in heaps and bins and barrels, and we ask for more of it on our birthdays.  Compost makes clay soil loosen up and helps sandy soil hold […]

Posted by Amy Campion  on July 22, 2014 at 8:05 am.   This post has 20 responses.

One size fits all?

What do St. Cloud, Minnesota and Westerly, Rhode Island have in common? Westerly is a seaside community in southern Rhode Island; St Cloud lies in central Minnesota and is bisected by the Mississippi river. Summers and winters are more moderate in Westerly; winter temperatures fall to greater depths in...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on July 21, 2014 at 9:07 am

Garden Coaching by Rainer

Landscape architect/blogger Thomas Rainer is one of my favorite designers, something I may have mentioned before on this blog.   Gardenblogger Margaret Roach is a Rainer fan, too.  She sought him out for an interview on her podcast, and it’s terrific.  (Transcript here.) My favorite bits are toward the end, when Thomas...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on July 18, 2014 at 8:09 am

A Growing Trend in the U.S.: Food Forests

Upstart food forests — designed landscapes incorporating perennial and woody plants that produce food — are popping up around the US, inspired no doubt by Seattle’s new Beacon Hill Food Forest as well as successful older sites including Mercy Emily Edible Park on 18 vacant lots in Philadelphia and...

Read more in: Eat This, What's Happening
Posted by on July 16, 2014 at 2:01 am

Monday, monday

Know these? These hostas came with the house. They have unusually tall, deep purple (photo does not show this) scapes and very glossy leaves. They’re very common throughout my part of Buffalo, but I’ve no idea which cultivar they are. July fool! According to this article, people in Chautauqua...

Read more in: Grab Bag
Posted by on July 14, 2014 at 8:15 am

Are you a “New Conservationist”?

In a recent issue of the New Yorker I learned that the current head of the Nature Conservancy is a “new conservationist” who’s butting heads with “traditional conservationists.” Also termed “eco-pragmatism,” this growing attitude among environmentalists challenges the traditional goal of preserving nature in some pristine condition or returning it...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on July 11, 2014 at 7:41 am

Read all about Allen Bush in the New York Times!

We knew we were fans of Allen Bush’s writing when we invited him to join us here at the Rant.  Now thanks to this wonderful profile of him in today’s New York Times we understand how he came to know so much and be so beloved in the gardening world. Congrats,...

Read more in: Who's Ranting About Us
Posted by on July 10, 2014 at 7:02 am

Free Spirit Nursery: Landscapes, Laughs and Love

  Lambèrt Vrijmoed, a British Columbia nurseryman, once drove a Pontiac hearse as his get-around car. There was not a hint of Goth subculture about him, though there was a touch of the madman. But this is not such a bad thing. The best gardeners, designers and nursery folks...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on July 9, 2014 at 6:53 am

Advice from others

Here’s more news from the gardening tips for newbies front. Huffington Post published a piece from Hometalk yesterday that offers the “9 best gardening tips for beginners.” I liked it OK—particularly the emphasis on good soil and organics—but couldn’t go along with some of the directives, which seemed chosen...

Read more in: CRRRITIC, Everybody's a Critic, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on July 8, 2014 at 7:57 am

Flags in Other People’s Gardens

Happy Independence Day, Americans!  Have fun, stay safe, et cetera. Now on to our topic – flags in the garden and their impact on others.  Take my neighbor’s Old Glory above, hanging on the privacy screen between our townhouse gardens.  Like it or not – and for holidays I...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on July 4, 2014 at 7:16 am

Open Garden Day Chez Moi

Last Saturday it suddenly occurred to me that after weeks of moving plants around and the construction of a privacy screen, my garden was finally looking good. And it would stay that way through July 4, when a slew of old friends would be gathering for our yearly reunion. Plus,...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on July 3, 2014 at 10:50 am

Garden as Process

Is a particular plant a weed? Is a garden a work of art? And who gets to decide? If you’ve read our recent rantings, you’ve likely noticed these questions do not have simple answers. The answers vary, depending on the gardener. Many gardeners (like me) learn their land slowly....

Read more in: But is it Art?, Everybody's a Critic, Real Gardens
Posted by on July 2, 2014 at 3:09 am

Man vs. tree

Why do people hate and fear trees?  It seems incredible, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support such a bizarre conclusion. During a recent afternoon at my regular salon, the owner told me about an encounter with a neighbor. She has a large elm tree in the back...

Read more in: Feed Me, It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by on June 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

What’s a weed? And is Spiderwort one?

How does a plant that arrives in your garden like a weed earn the right to not be weeded out?  I ruminated on this the other day when a neighbor asked me to identify a new plant in her garden that had arrived without her help. I told her...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on June 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

They asked for it!

A few weeks ago, the Ranters were asked by’s Money publication to supply a list of good and bad ways to spend money in the garden. I’ll be honest; I usually hate this kind of crap. However, this time, the writer, Brad Tuttle, did a fantastic job. He...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Who's Ranting About Us
Posted by on June 26, 2014 at 8:00 am

The Kindness of Strangers or Tend To Your Own Garden, Interloper!

  Gardening in public can be so interesting. I have grown most of my food in my hellstrip for about 5 – 6 years now, since my backyard is the domain of an Evil Gopher Warrior King and my front yard has grown too shady for most edibles to...

Read more in: Uncategorized
Posted by on June 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

It’s June and the subject is roses

Roses have to earn their keep in my urban garden, just like every other plant I have. Space is at a premium, so I need there to be at least two months of floral and foliar interest from any given plant and prefer more if possible. But my requirements...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on June 23, 2014 at 9:02 am

From Organic-Only to Big-Picture Sustainability

I recommend a fascinating article in Wednesday’s Food Section of the Washington Post this week: “Organic standards fight over synthetics  shows there’s room for a third system,” starting with the news that proposed broadening of organic standards brought out the protesters at a recent meeting, and the police had to...

Read more in: Eat This, Science Says
Posted by on June 20, 2014 at 11:03 am

The enigma of Olmsted

Home tomorrow night? You can catch the newest documentary on Frederick Law Olmsted on PBS. Entitled Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America, this is a basic overview of the seminal landscape architect’s career, starting with Central Park and ending with his final projects in Massachusetts and North Carolina. We’ve discussed...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, I Don't Have a Garden, but I Watch One on TV, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on June 19, 2014 at 8:00 am

Praising Our Public Gardens: A Video Tribute to Idaho Botanical Garden

The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) holds its annual conference in Denver next week. The theme is Everyday Magic: The Transformative Nature of Public Gardens. With tracks on education, leadership, art, horticulture, and more, the program schedule underlines just how hard public gardens work to lure visitors and to...

Read more in: Public Gardens
Posted by on June 18, 2014 at 9:29 am
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