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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 the changes in the structure of […]

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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 8 responses.

The Patience of a Gardener

Recently we’ve hosted lively discussions here at Garden Rant about spending gobs of money on our gardens, choosing native over non-native plants, and to what extent gardens are art. To me, there is a more personal and pertinent issue at stake with regard to America’s current horticultural practices: how...

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Read related articles in: Everybody's a Critic, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on August 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm   This post has 40 responses.

Removing Sod, Saving Earthworms, and Obsessing over Make-Overs

With lawn reduction growing in popularity, email groups are lively with discussions of how to remove the stuff.  There are basically four choices – digging, using a sod-cutter, smothering and spraying with herbicide.  I’ve removed a far bit of sod over the years, always using that first one – great...

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Lawn Reform
Posted by on June 13, 2014 at 7:20 am   This post has 10 responses.

Saving Seedlings, Saving the World

Recently I went camping near my new home in Boise. I sat down with a cup of coffee and a notebook in my campsite one morning, enjoying the trilling of a meadowlark and a view of natural scrubland as I pondered (this is one of my favorite activities). As...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on May 20, 2014 at 11:52 pm   This post has 21 responses.

The Joys of Curbside Gardening, and Groundcover Sedums

Hellstrip gardening is getting its due these days, thanks to Evelyn Hadden’s terrific new book on the subject, and Lauren Springer Ogden’s coining of the term in the first place.  And it starts a discussion about gardens that bring pleasure to not just the gardener, but the whole community. ...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform
Posted by on May 16, 2014 at 7:56 am   This post has 7 responses.

Great Healthy Yard Project

That’s Diane Lewis, whose New York Times editorial “The Toxic Brew in our Yards” about pesticides stated the problem so convincingly and drew kudos from around the gardening world.   I found the video on the website of her Great Healthy Yard Project. I’ll be contacting Dr. Lewis to congratulate...

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 at 7:12 am   This post has 10 responses.

The Smiling Faces of Spring

SPRING!!! I am traveling to Brooklyn to do some garden business, and to see what spring looks like after a long, long winter. I am amazed at the pep in everyone’s step! Living for so long in Southern California, one takes the endless summer/spring for granted – but NOBODY...

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Read related articles in: CRRRITIC, It's the Plants, Darling, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on May 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm   This post has one response.

Hellstrip Gardening Highlights and Give-away

How could I NOT love Hellstrip Gardening?  The subject is fun and inspiring, and I’m a long-time fan of the author, too – the Rant’s own Evelyn Hadden  (whose earlier book about Beautiful No-Mow Lawns I reviewed here.) But this isn’t a “review.”  (They’re usually so boring!)  Instead, I...

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Read related articles in: Everybody's a Critic, Lawn Reform, Uncategorized
Posted by on April 25, 2014 at 9:09 am   This post has 94 responses.

A Courtyard Garden Promotes Pondering

My understanding of a place dawns slowly. Occasionally I design a garden, and it is a ponderous and effortful activity because it doesn’t come easily to me. This has been brought home to me over and over as I struggle to set out the bones of my new garden....

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Posted by on March 5, 2014 at 3:45 am   This post has 27 responses.

My Favorite Turfgrass? Sheep Fescue!

Guest post by Thomas Christopher Enhancing biodiversity is fundamental to transforming lawns from the polluted green deserts that they now are into the sustainable, environmentally constructive landscape features we desire.  For that reason, in my plantings I’ve avoided becoming too reliant on any one grass.  Instead, I try to...

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Posted by Thomas Christopher on February 13, 2014 at 7:42 am   This post has 11 responses.

Coming soon – Roundup-Ready Turfgrass

Photo via Shutterstock News from the garden-product company we love to hate – Scotts-MiracleGro, of course.  As reported here (via a Rant tipster) CEO Jim Hagedorn announced at the company’s annual meeting that it’s testing genetically modified grass seed (Kentucky bluegrass) that will withstand the large-scale spraying of the...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on February 7, 2014 at 11:35 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Public Food Forest: Clever Solution or Future Flop?

Public food forests are a shiny new trend in the United States. Focused on perennial crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees and shrubs, they embody the values of permaculture (which I’ve touted elsewhere) : generosity, abundance, good health and nutrition, and food security. If they are developed and...

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Read related articles in: Feed Me, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on February 5, 2014 at 3:49 am   This post has 26 responses.

We Only Bond with Complex Landscapes

Here’s one of my beefs with lawns: where is the mystery? We live within this awe-inspiring natural world, teeming with diverse creatures and plants. We have a built-in fascination for other living things (1). Why would we construct our daily environments in such a way that we avoid being...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on December 4, 2013 at 2:04 am   This post has 40 responses.

Help make the Arboretum Lawn Education Program a Good One!

Readers may remember this post announcing a forthcoming lawn education program at the National Arboretum financed entirely by the turf industry. (Scroll down here to see the funders).  Well, it’s now a reality, with the official ground-breaking event last week, and I’m more concerned than ever.  Though I’m a...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on November 22, 2013 at 9:47 am   This post has 2 responses.

Video shows the Gardens of Greenbelt, Maryland in ’39 and ’13

Put something online; you never know where it’ll lead.  In this case, a reader of this very blog discovered the “Less Lawn, More Life” garden tour I organized in Greenbelt, Maryland, where our reader once lived.  So she attended and created this fabulous video of the tour!  It includes...

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Posted by on September 25, 2013 at 10:18 am   This post has Comments Off.

“Less Lawn, More Life” Garden Tour this Sunday

I’ve noted earlier that organizing a local garden tour is a great way to meet your neighbors, and as I’m making final preparations for the tour this Sunday, it does feel like I have a new posse of local gardening pals who have my back in this venture and...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on September 10, 2013 at 8:05 am   This post has 10 responses.

Want your kids to play outside? Rip out the lawn!

Guest Rant by Pam Penick Lawns are for kids, right? After all, they need that big, green carpet to enjoy the outdoors. Would it be an exaggeration to say it borders on neglect not to keep a lawn for your children or grandchildren to play on? Some people think...

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 at 7:50 am   This post has 164 responses.

Plant Ideas Needed for Biodiverse Lawn

by Lawn  Reform Coalition Member Tom Christopher Like other members of the Lawn Reform Coalition, I believe that the contemporary model of lawn has got to go. It does have its virtues, though we critics tend to overlook them. For example, traditional lawn provides a relatively inexpensive and easy...

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm   This post has 34 responses.

How to Teach a Town to Garden – Ideas, Please!

The Mission To turn my mostly-lawn community of 1,600 townhouses, some with incredibly large yards, into a place with gardens that benefit the environment and humans, too.   We do have large trees and lots of geometrically shaped hedges, but that’s about it, except for the houses on the perimeter...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on February 22, 2013 at 9:13 am   This post has 39 responses.

The American Lawn Predates the Civil War

Susan asked in a post whether we should blame Frederick Law Olmsted for the popularity of lawn in the U.S., and we have an answer by guest ranter Thomas Mickey. Recent posts have appeared on this site that blasted the American obsession with the lawn.  I have no problem...

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm   This post has 6 responses.
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