Lake Superior image courtesy of Shutterstock

A bell that tolls for all of us—with different tunes

The drought news from the West and Southwest combined with watching Interstellar over the weekend has me thinking about water and the lack thereof. We don’t have a drought threat here in Western New York, but, just as the article I linked to above says, “Nothing about water is easy.”  Given the spring thaws and […]

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on April 13, 2015 at 8:03 am   This post has 9 responses.

Clinging to big chem

Glyphosate and neonics—herbicides and pesticides contested as benign by most of big ag and big gardening— were in the news again. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has stated that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans; its evidence came from human agricultural exposure as well...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on March 30, 2015 at 8:30 am   This post has 8 responses.

The Power of Naming

In my last column, I admitted I prefer my own garden to Garden Shows, though it does depend on how far under the snow my garden is buried at the time the shows are happening. Symposia, on the other hand, are special treats. I invariably find them valuable, especially...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on March 6, 2015 at 12:05 pm   This post has 24 responses.

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...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 24, 2015 at 8:52 am   This post has 12 responses.

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...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 7, 2015 at 9:17 am   This post has 8 responses.

Who Will See the Canopy for the Trees?

  Louisville, Kentucky is on Fodor’s 2015 travel “Go List.”  Forget about Antarctica and Iceland. You want a hot spot? My hometown is unquestionably the hot spot among the top 25 travel destinations. Louisville ranks among the Top Five cities in the country with hottest urban heat islands. Some...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, What's Happening
Posted by on January 8, 2015 at 5:06 am   This post has 15 responses.

Back to the Future with Sustainable Lawns

What is cutting edge in the field of sustainable lawns? Much of it is forgotten lore from the late 19th/early 20th century, I have been discovering. I came upon this revelation while preparing for the talk I am going to give this month at a conference organized by Larry...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on January 2, 2015 at 8:40 am   This post has 9 responses.

A meadow’s tale

The first thing I did after I bought the farm was quit mowing the grass. The property is ten acres with a nice rolling aspect, some very good old trees, and a dark deep pond for fishing. The assortment of buildings include a Victorian farmhouse, a big party barn,...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by David McMullin on December 16, 2014 at 8:15 am   This post has 13 responses.

Meadow Day in Maryland

Meadows are HOT these days, thanks to anti-lawn sentiments, concern for pollinators, and some smart designers and plant researchers.  I encountered all of the above one day last month. University of Maryland at College Park First I attended a talk+tour at the University of Maryland about the meadows on...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Lawn Reform, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on December 5, 2014 at 9:44 am   This post has 7 responses.

Lawn Alternative Update from the Scott Arboretum

Years ago I visited the Scott Arboretum to learn about alternatives to lawn and see the ones they were growing there.  (Here’s my 2008 report.)  Last month I returned for another event but made time to revisit their lawn-alt plants, too.  (Wonder if we can get that term to...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on November 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm   This post has 13 responses.

Oh, TM/® symbols? Don’t use ’em; don’t have to

Over the weekend, Susan and I heard from a garden writer who worried that he was about to be attacked by the Conard-Pyle company for not naming the Knock Out rose line the way it prefers (all caps with a ®). Instead, the writer was using the single quotes...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 3, 2014 at 8:05 am   This post has 20 responses.

The Monsters Among Us

Happy Halloween. I hope to really scare you. Because there ARE monsters. There are things that are truly frightening in our world, and we gardeners are on the front lines, either fighting these forces of evil, or being victimized by them. OR, we stand by and do nothing… and...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: CRRRITIC, Everybody's a Critic, Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Real Gardens, Science Says
Posted by on October 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm   This post has 76 responses.

Trashing Out with Kudzu and ‘Sherman’s Ghost’

Kudzu is the poster child for invasive plants. The vine that gobbled up more than seven million acres in the south became the unintended consequence of the USDA’s plan to stop erosion. When African-Americans, in 1910, began their migration from the rural south to northern cities, the vine would...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 22, 2014 at 6:15 am   This post has 18 responses.

Report from the Transition Zone: Sustainable Turfgrasses Tested at U.Md.

It’s kinda frustrating here in the Mid-Atlantic “Transition Zone” for turfgrasses because neither warm- or cold-season grasses are best suited to our climate.  The frustration was pronounced as I looked for examples of the more sustainable, no-mow-type fine fescues that are being touted from colder climes.  (Here’s a shout-out from...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on October 10, 2014 at 9:26 am   This post has 7 responses.

Urban prairie envy

I’m not the owner of this house, nor am I the designer of the pictured front yard, but I do admire  the knowledge,  commitment and creativity of whoever made this garden. I came across this house on a random trip around town while driving down a street that I...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 6, 2014 at 7:48 am   This post has 39 responses.

Death Enhances a Garden

Death plays a significant role in my garden, and in so many ways, it makes the garden more interesting. Death provides comfort. I don’t routinely snip or snap off dead flower heads, not even the large dahlia blooms that stand on their stems brown and bedraggled for weeks. I...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, Real Gardens
Posted by on September 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm   This post has 18 responses.

Support this Lawn-to-Prairie Make-Over

Friend-of-Rant Benjamin Vogt wrote to tell me about his exciting new project on Indiegogo -ripping out his front lawn and replacing it with a wildlife garden that he’ll use to spread the word about how beautiful wildlife and native-plant gardens can be – even in front yards.  He went...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on September 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm   This post has 12 responses.

Postcards From The Edge – DROUGHT

I have lived through drought before, but I have never seen anything like what I am witnessing now. I live in what is usually called an “up and coming” community – this is one of those places where artists and musicians come to raise their families, and before the...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 27, 2014 at 10:05 am   This post has 43 responses.

Who’s more controversial – Michelle Rhee or Scotts Miracle-Gro?

To most of the media, it’s the famous education reformer Michelle Rhee, ex-DC Schools Chancellor, who’s controversial, unpopular, even reviled by some, especially teachers’ unions. (Interesting read on the subject.)  So when Scotts MiracleGro recently named her as a trustee, teachers called for a boycott of Scotts, and readers were presumably left with the...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 22, 2014 at 9:03 am   This post has 28 responses.

Courtyard Garden: One Year Later

It’s time for an update on my courtyard garden. The thrill of saying that hasn’t dimmed after a year, and I imagine I will still be delighted about it if I am lucky enough to have a courtyard garden decades from now. First, a quick before-and-after pairing to show...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on August 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm   This post has 11 responses.
  • Follow Garden Rant

    Follow Me on Pinterest RSS