volcano mulching

Tweed Jackets: The Answer to Horticulture’s Waning Reputation?

The Problem of Looking Stupid Here’s how to look stupid: start digging a hole. Einstein, himself, would look like an idiot while digging a hole. All through history, people have needed holes, and no one has ever looked smart digging one. And no one has ever stood near a digging person, eagerly observing and taking […]

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Posted by on April 18, 2018 at 3:43 pm   This post has 18 responses.

Stop the dumb lists

Certain garden-related websites (and I use the term loosely) like to send out annotated lists—top ten this, ten worst that, six ways to do such and such. And the most disturbing mini-trend in this listicle clickbait is the alarmist listing of “Ten Plants You Should Never Grow,” or (from...

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Posted by on April 17, 2018 at 9:26 am   This post has 10 responses.

Despite the evil, I’m sticking with Facebook

After a brief flurry of “I’m leaving” posts, the talk about Facebook’s crimes has died away from my feed. Everything seems back to normal (whatever that is). It’s not surprising, because for those who have made this network part of their daily routine and would like to continue the...

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Posted by on April 3, 2018 at 8:41 am   This post has 12 responses.

Pollinator-Friendly Lawns

The weekend before last I had the pleasure of meeting Heather Holm, a great gardener and leading advocate for pollinators from Minneapolis.  She has self-published two very useful (and attractive) books: Pollinators of Native Plants (2014) and the multiple-award-winning Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide (2017). Heather...

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Posted by on April 2, 2018 at 8:45 am   This post has 9 responses.

Bad dye jobs: get the paint off the plants!

Plants and color are two of my greatest sources of happiness. But when I see a dyed plant—whether it’s a blue orchid or an oddly ochre heather—I’m instantly enraged. You can find painted or dyed plants in nurseries, box stores and supermarkets. How did we get here? A French...

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Posted by Erica Browne Grivas on February 27, 2018 at 8:29 am   This post has 13 responses.

A Holiday Aspiration

“Disarming Hearts, Forging Peace” is the motto of RAWtools, and who can argue with that, especially at this holiday season? Taking Judeo-Christian scripture literally, this organization is committed to transforming people-killing weapons into implements of peace.  Send RAWtools a gun and it will re-forge it into gardening tools. This...

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Posted by on December 18, 2017 at 9:59 am   This post has 9 responses.

Erasing nature

“acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow.” These are the words that have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. “attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player...

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Posted by on October 17, 2017 at 10:40 am   This post has 16 responses.

Ask Your Budtender First

  I went to a legal pot dispensary in Denver this summer. Marijuana, you’ve no doubt heard, is a hot commodity in Colorado. The dispensary reminded me of the Long Branch Saloon on the long-playing television series Gunsmoke (1955-1975). Miss Kitty traded gossip in the saloon with U.S. Marshall...

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Posted by on October 11, 2017 at 8:19 am   This post has 2 responses.

Dennis the Menace

I drove to Cherokee Park’s Big Rock Pavilion, adjacent to Beargrass Creek, on Friday afternoon, anticipating a profusion of white bonesets, blue dayflowers and lingering yellow wingstems. I wasn’t disappointed. But there was more. A hundred yards downstream, I could make out rock sculptures—dozens of them. They looked, from...

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Posted by on September 27, 2017 at 7:36 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Pin Oak vs. Statues of Dead White Men

Since the tragic weekend in Charlottesville, I have wondered why so few people have paid so little attention to trees. Much attention has been given to the argument about whether statues of Confederate soldiers should remain, be removed or re-located. A fallen tree here, another tree removed there. So what?...

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Posted by on August 30, 2017 at 8:39 am   This post has 12 responses.

Keep the cats inside

This was to be a post touting the glorious weekend I had exploring the DC area with fellow garden bloggers. But, while I was away, I received news that a nest of birds we’d been hosting has possibly fallen prey to one of the many free-roaming/feral cats that plague...

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Posted by on June 27, 2017 at 10:38 am   This post has 31 responses.

The Mysterious Case of the Orange Petunia

  If you’re growing an orange petunia this summer, you may be one of the lucky ones. Or the afflicted ones. Orangish petunias were taken off the market several weeks ago, in Europe, when a Finnish watchdog agency, Evira, announced they had discovered that the summer flowering annual had...

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Posted by on May 24, 2017 at 8:02 am   This post has 16 responses.

I hate being a gardening know-it-all

And the funny thing is that I’m really not. I’m not a master gardener, a CNLP, or any kind of horticultural professional. I’m just a writer/editor who loves to garden, geek out on gardening books, and keep up with new ways of thinking about traditional garden practice. And, yes,...

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Posted by on April 25, 2017 at 9:24 am   This post has 12 responses.

Pollen, Politics and Doomsday Prep

I’ve been a careless victim of too many late nights in my past, but knocking back shots of Bourbon into the wee hours did not redden my eyes this spring. Pollen is the culprit. The warm late winter and early spring brought flowers into bloom earlier than usual. And...

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Posted by on April 19, 2017 at 7:28 am   This post has 7 responses.

Sorry, no seeds—or cereal—for me, GM

Full disclosure: I have a relationship with Cheerios. On any given morning, when I step out into the garden, a pleasant smell, kind of like baking, is often lightly wafting through the air. It’s coming from the General Mills plant down at the waterfront. It started making Cheerios as...

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Posted by on April 11, 2017 at 7:41 am   This post has 6 responses.

Clean water? Fresh air? Unspoiled national parks? Science? Who needs ’em?

After appointing what are essentially bizzaro-world choices to lead the EPA, and other government offices that might affect the natural environment, the current administration has removed key  protections through executive order and plans to get rid of many more through upcoming budget changes. The done deals include allowing coal...

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Posted by on April 4, 2017 at 10:05 am   This post has 4 responses.

Stick to gardening

Life is messy. I think we can all agree. You’d like to keep all the separate activities—professional life, family, hobbies, friends, travel—in their little boxes, but it’s never easy. Things run together, things collide, especially in the age of social media. I look at my Facebook posts from five...

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Posted by on January 31, 2017 at 3:42 pm   This post has Comments Off on Stick to gardening.

Just the facts

Alternative facts, that is. If there is any group of people that has learned to accept unpleasant realities—often brought on by natural forces—that group is gardeners. So I’m happy to know that I can devise, twist, and present my own version of gardening facts. Now is the time, before...

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Posted by on January 24, 2017 at 3:32 pm   This post has Comments Off on Just the facts.

Ark Encounter Stalled in Dry Dock

The re-creation of Noah’s ark, sitting in dry dock, six miles from Dry Ridge, Kentucky, looks like a gargantuan Pez dispenser laid on its side. The ark sits in the distance across a dry lake meant to be symbolic of the Biblical flood, but the lake doesn’t hold water....

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Posted by on October 26, 2016 at 12:06 pm   This post has Comments Off on Ark Encounter Stalled in Dry Dock.

Cornell on Lawn Care: Do Less!

Lawns have been attacked for some years now, with claims that they require obscene amounts of water, fertilizers, pesticides, and gas-guzzling mowing, so of course the only responsible thing to do is to get rid of it all, right? But lawns are so useful they’ll always be with us,...

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Posted by on August 13, 2016 at 7:39 pm   This post has Comments Off on Cornell on Lawn Care: Do Less!.