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Hey, Mayor Bloomberg! Here’s Your New Compost Plan

You may have read that Mayor Bloomberg has a new food scrap composting plan for New York City.  It works just the same way suburban food scrap programs do:  everybody gets a new bin, everybody has to take another step when they separate their trash, everybody has to haul another thing out to the curb. […]

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on June 26, 2013 at 5:27 am   This post has 18 responses.

Crimes and Ethical Dilemmas in the News

Two items in Sunday’s papers caught my interest, and possibly yours.  “Metro edict choking Phantom Planter’s blooms” in the Washington Post really warmed my heart – except for the part about Metro.  Part-time lawyer Henry Doctor has been planting flowering plants in the 176 otherwise abandoned little planters along...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, What's Happening
Posted by on June 25, 2013 at 8:31 am   This post has 12 responses.

I Wish They All Could Be California Flowers

  tulip image via Shutterstock Hey, good news!  Pesticide use on California-grown cut flowers is way down over the last decade, according to this report from UC.  California has required farms to file monthly pesticide use reports since 1990, and since 2001 those reports have been more crop-specific, making...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on June 19, 2013 at 6:00 am   This post has 5 responses.

What’s New and Old at Longwood Gardens

On my way to  David Culp’s garden I naturally stopped at Longwood Gardens, which I somehow hadn’t visited in at least a decade.  So, what’s new? Treehouses! Three of them, and they’re grand like this one or smaller and funky.  Love ‘em! Above and below are the much newer...

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Read related articles in: Green the Grounds
Posted by on June 7, 2013 at 11:17 am   This post has 13 responses.

Cats in the Garden – Solutions Only

Cat-loving readers will no doubt remember our recent dust-up over the issue of cats in the garden.  That post was prompted by a cat-in-garden photo illustrating a magazine piece about wildlife-friendly gardens – a strange juxtaposition, at least to my eyes. Well, I was happy to notice Horticulture Magazine...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on May 21, 2013 at 9:50 am   This post has 36 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.

OG Mag on Wildlife-Friendly Gardens: What’s Wrong with this Picture?

As a big fan of Organic Gardening Magazine, I take no pleasure in expressing my shock surprise at seeing this photo illustrating an otherwise wonderful article about growing wildlife-friendly gardens.  The caption on the right says “Orange Boy watches wildlife from the front porch.” I don’t imagine he just...

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Posted by on May 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm   This post has 46 responses.

The Travels and Trials of Plant Explorer Panayoti Kelaides

It’s only thanks to Tony Avent’s latest catalog cover that I knew that of the existence of Panayoti Kelaidis – he appears there just to the right of the Ranters.  I didn’t know him as a famous plant collector/explorer who’s put the Denver Botanic Gardens on the map, but...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on May 3, 2013 at 7:24 am   This post has 13 responses.

When Master Gardeners Break the Rule and say they’re Master Gardeners

Not long ago we had a lively discussions here (145 comments!) in answer to the question:  What do we think of Master Gardeners?“  Much of the criticism of the MG program was focused on the name, and several commenters opined that “Extension Volunteer” would be more accurate and cause...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on April 19, 2013 at 8:27 am   This post has 44 responses.

Sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll—and gardening

Did you read about that wacky garden club on New York’s Roosevelt Island? Things have gone sadly awry at the tiny East River island’s Garden Club, according to a recent New York Times story. The 120-plot community garden is located in Octagon Park and run by a volunteer board....

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on April 15, 2013 at 7:47 am   This post has 9 responses.

Frogs—the horror!

“I’m petrified of the little creatures,” said Marinaccio, 65. Today’s headline story (online) of the Buffalo News caught my eye. It’s the strangest I’ve seen there for some time. The basis of a landowner’s suit against a local developer and the town of Clarence, N.Y., where he lives, is...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on April 8, 2013 at 7:23 am   This post has 8 responses.

So, what do we think of “Master Gardeners”?

Recently there was a lively garden-writer discussion on Facebook that began with this question:  “I’m a member of several professional garden groups and a recurring theme that comes up is anti-master gardeners. Why?” Boy-oh-boy, did people have answers.  One opined that Master Gardeners represent a “stale and stagnant status...

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Read related articles in: CRRRITIC, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on March 1, 2013 at 9:09 am   This post has 145 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.

In defense of garden cats

As a gardening veterinarian, I feel obligated to defend our feline friends against the recent onslaught of poor publicity directed towards them.  I’m referring of course, to news reports that stem from a January 29, 2013 article by Scott Loss, et al in Nature Communications, titled “The impact of free-ranging...

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Posted by on February 14, 2013 at 8:34 am   This post has 63 responses.

Unsurprising, but still sad

A few years ago, I was offered about ten years worth of Garden Design magazines if I paid for the postage to get them to me. The two boxes came and I put them in a closet, intending at some point to unpack and shelve them somewhere I could...

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Read related articles in: Everybody's a Critic, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 12, 2013 at 7:33 am   This post has 29 responses.

The cat problem

And no, it’s not that there are two many pictures of them on Facebook. (There are, but that’s a discussion for another time.)  My husband and I have owned cats for over twenty years (2 different ones); they’ve always been kept inside, although the first one was briefly allowed...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on February 4, 2013 at 8:39 am   This post has 34 responses.

All maples are not created equal—especially when they’re on a $20 bill

As a gardener who has suffered under the shade and roots of three (3) Norway maples planted inextricably in the easeway fronting my house, I can sympathize with those who are distressed about a Norway maple leaf being enshrined forever on the new Canadian currency. It was supposed to...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 28, 2013 at 8:00 am   This post has 14 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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Read related articles in: Guest Rants, Lawn Reform
Posted by on January 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm   This post has 6 responses.

How the rest of the world solves the front-yard problem? No front yard!

Time for a follow-up to my recent criticism of the all-turf American front yard, which we can thank Olmsted for popularizing both in parks and in front of homes.  When commissioned to design a new town, he mandated 30-foot setbacks from the street. Readers here know that front yards...

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Lawn Reform
Posted by on January 4, 2013 at 9:11 am   This post has 32 responses.

Bringing the green—or not so much?

You might not know we reelected a president last week from reading this site. We try to stick to gardening politics. But presidents do have an effect on environmental policies, conservation, farming and—eventually—gardening. A few years back I posted about the ten greenest presidents in U.S, history, according to...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 12, 2012 at 8:26 am   This post has 7 responses.
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