But is it Art?, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening

The Master Logger and the Hay Rake in the Walnut Tree

  There is an abandoned fencerow on our Salvisa, Kentucky, farm. It’s marked clearly. A dozen black walnut trees Juglans nigra grow in a straight line, running up a small hill toward the rising sun. A generation ago, squirrels stored thousands of walnuts and forgot about them. The trees, nearly 50 years old, grew like […]

Posted by  on December 23, 2015 at 8:36 am.   This post has 7 responses.

Post-solstice meander

This post is the first of several looking back/moving forward surveys—a process I always enjoy at this time of year. Although it’s been unusually mild—so much so that I think I may finally get to clearing out some weedy areas behind the house—it’s therapeutic to look back on the...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 22, 2015 at 10:02 am

Prayer Flags in My Garden

Does your garden have a focal point you’d rather not see, one that’s not on your property so you can’t change it? I do – a neighbor’s storage area – but co-op rules prevent me from blocking it with, say, a lattice, and the space is far too small...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on December 18, 2015 at 7:39 am

Garden Ephemera

During this season of relative cold and darkness, I experience my garden in brief increments of time. I may take a brisk stroll through it on a windy day, or spend half an hour basking in a lawnchair during a calm, sunny afternoon, or work an hour here and...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on December 16, 2015 at 3:45 am

Sticker shock

Raise your hand if you enjoy spending up to half an hour removing adhesive stickers from ceramic pots. No hands up? What a surprise. I have upgraded my game a bit for bulb forcing and no longer use the cheap (but not unattractive) Home Depot pots. One thing I’ll...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 15, 2015 at 7:25 am

Where Environmentalism Meets Public Health

Meet environmental activist Robert Zarr, shown here in a park in downtown D.C. He’s dressed for cycling because he rides his bike to work; his family as been car-free for 15 or so years. But what makes him an environmental activist isn’t cycling or his other outdoor pursuits; it’s...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on December 11, 2015 at 8:07 am

The Conquest of Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu

Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu was toppled before first frost. A vital part of our garden has become a dog run.  Gone are the scree beds, replaced by sod. Rufus now rules the roost. Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu, conceived fifteen years ago by my good friend, the talented landscape architect...

Read more in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on December 9, 2015 at 7:23 am

An Osage expose

Osage orange fruit. Hedge apples. Monkey brains. Maclura pomifera. Yellow-green, squiggly, hairy spheres the size of grapefruits. If these are underfoot on a fall hike, I guarantee someone will mention the purported insect and/or spider repellant properties of an Osage orange. Rumor has it that a few of these bowling balls...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Joanna Brichetto on December 7, 2015 at 7:56 am

To Help Save Habitat, Drink this Coffee

Sure, you can buy coffee that’s certified organic, but there’s another certification that includes organic and goes even farther – Bird-Friendly Coffee. Our seal of approval ensures tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds find a healthy haven when they travel from your backyard to those faraway farms producing the...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on December 4, 2015 at 8:00 am

A Great New Aid to Plant Identification

Plant identification has always been my nemesis.  I recognize old friends, but confront me with a new-comer, an unknown, and I am at a loss.  There are tools for identifying unfamiliar plants, of course.  These are botanical keys.  I was supposed to master these during my days as a...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on December 3, 2015 at 10:14 am

Protein from the Garden

If you’re wanting to cut meat from your diet or reduce your consumption of it, for health reasons or environmental ones, you might have wondered if you can then turn to your garden for some of your daily protein intake. Your garden can supply a surprisingly diverse array of...

Read more in: Feed Me
Posted by on December 2, 2015 at 4:36 am

Making my peace with poinsettias

As you can  imagine, many of my most passionate rants are years in the past, back when we started. You can only inveigh against lawn culture, shake your fist against Big Chem, or rage about cheap resin statuary so many times. Then there the things I’ve ranted against that...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on December 1, 2015 at 9:03 am

Perennials that won’t tolerate leaf mulches

In a recent post, Evelyn Hadden shared some very useful tips on how fall’s leaves can be used in the garden.   As a perennial enthusiast, I’d like to add a couple of caveats – a mulch of autumn leaves can be fatal to certain kinds of perennials. A mulch...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on November 28, 2015 at 11:54 am

Watering tools I love, and why I hate the others

In honor of a day that doesn’t deserve it (the horrid Black Friday), here are some gift suggestions for the gardener on your list or your own list of wants. All my favorite gardening tools seem to be watering-related, and here are three that I recommend to anyone who’ll...

Read more in: Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on November 27, 2015 at 8:24 am

Gratitude, like gardening, is good for you

As I just heard on an NPR report yesterday, being thankful is not just the thing to do at this time of year, gratitude actually has real health benefits, including reducing the possibility of heart disease. Well, I’m all for that! So here goes: I’m thankful that I live...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on November 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

In the Time of the Long Shadows

Fall. A time of the year I love and hate. Love most of the weather. Love the clear blue sky and bright orange autumn leaves. Love the way it makes me want to start nesting. Hate the shorter days. Hate the weather on days that are cold and damp....

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by Irvin Etienne on November 23, 2015 at 8:04 am

Anti-Leaf-Blowers get Blowback

Continuing our seasonal leaf theme here on GardenRant, it’s time for some anti-leaf-blower ranting! Actually we’ve done that, so how about some rants against anti-leaf-blowers, coz those ranters know how to have fun. But we start with the anti-leaf-blower, in this case a famous one – James Fallows, journalist...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, What's Happening
Posted by on November 20, 2015 at 8:50 am

Fall and Rebirth

Autumn is a sad yet beautiful season in my garden.  It brackets the anniversaries of my son’s life:  his birth in late fall and his death at age 18 at fall’s beginning.   I think of him often at this time of year but especially in the garden, which is...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on November 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

Six Ways to Use Fallen Leaves in Your Garden

Got leaves? Use them to boost your garden’s soil and plant health, facilitate the design and creation of new planting beds, turn problem areas into productive ones, and save yourself labor and money, all while doing the green thing. Here are six rewarding, practical alternatives to raking leaves into...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 18, 2015 at 4:58 am

Gardening in the dark times

For years, I’ve been using gardening to ease the transition from the long, light days of spring, summer, and early fall to weeks when I leave the house before dawn and drive home at sunset. The idea is to stay in touch with growing things no matter what. I...

Read more in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on November 17, 2015 at 8:31 am
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