Lawn 2

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 with that sentiment, but what made […]

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

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

Garden Literature goes Up in Smoke

Dear friends, just as there is no hiding the fact that Professor Roush is a rose nut, there is also no suspense to the revelation that I am an entrenched bibliophile.  My love of printed and bound material stretches far back into my childhood, to that happy time when I was still an only child and...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 11, 2012 at 9:00 am   This post has 27 responses.

UK gardeners: No peat for you!

“If you love your garden, you really can’t just abstain.” That’s what the delightfully named Brit celeb gardener Bob Flowerdew says about a life without peat moss. As reported in the New York Times yesterday, the public, private, and industrial use of peat in Great Britain could completely disappear...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 8, 2012 at 7:50 am   This post has 22 responses.

Vegetables Should Taste Good!

The New York Times ran a piece this week about the results of federal legislation mandating healthier school lunches beginning this year. Because of puritanical restrictions on fat and salt, the healthy food has no flavor and many kids are just rejecting it. Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune...

Read more in: Eat This, Feed Me, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm   This post has 17 responses.

It’s a Miracle! Scotts backs off You Can Grow That

… grow the YCGT campaign! Happy endings to stories that involve corporations vs. individuals are all too rare, so we’re very pleased to report that garden writer C.L. Fornari will be able to continue her “You Can Grow That” campaign without any opposition from Scotts Miracle-Gro. As she just...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Who's Ranting About Us
Posted by on September 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm   This post has 34 responses.

Stanford Organic Study Ignores Variety Differences

Rant readers, please welcome Dr. John Reganold of Washington State University, who has done groundbreaking work demonstrating the value of organic agriculture, including studies that show a correlation between the quality of the soil and the quality of the food it produces. In the wake of the recent furor...

Read more in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on September 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm   This post has 21 responses.

Scotts Miracle-Gro’s Big Fine, and Garden Writers Speaking Up

We reported in January that Scotts Miracle-Gro had entered a guilty plea for knowingly selling bird food they’d poisoned with a pesticide (to prolong its shelf life) and was slapped with a $4.5 million fine.  “Too low!” some critics cried.  Well, turns out it’s $12.5 mil, with more legal...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on September 11, 2012 at 8:50 am   This post has 10 responses.

An uproar over organic

As you know, we carry a bunch of feeds from other sites that might be of interest to you all. The ScienceDaily posts are the most frequent, and I usually can’t keep up with them. Their headline about organic food having  “little evidence of health benefits” did grab my attention however. The...

Read more in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on September 10, 2012 at 7:40 am   This post has 46 responses.

Dear Scotts: Just Try, One Time, Not to be So Shitty.

Trademark image from Shutterstock Does anyone remember when we posted about the “You Can Grow That!” campaign started by garden writer C.L. Fornari? Her perfectly nice, well-intentioned idea was to start a social media campaign to encourage non-gardeners to garden, or to encourage all of us to grow new...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Uncategorized
Posted by on September 5, 2012 at 4:36 am   This post has 47 responses.

The High Line backlash

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to visit the High Line yet, I’m sorry to have to tell you that it’s over. Already. At least according to a New York Times op-ed by Jeremiah Moss, in which the writer condemns the West Side elevated park succinctly:...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Real Gardens
Posted by on August 27, 2012 at 7:58 am   This post has 18 responses.

Gas and land

East Pond, at Gateway National Refuge Area. Photo courtesy of NPS. U.S. athletes triumphed during the recent Olympiad—loved watching it! I wish I could say the same about our triumphant leadership in other fields, especially when it comes to breaking away from dependence on fossil fuels. Where I live,...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 13, 2012 at 9:03 am   This post has 14 responses.

The Story Ends Well For Heronswood

Heronswood, the revered botanical garden created in Kingston, Washington by plant collector Dan Hinkley and his partner, architect Robert Jones, as an adjunct to the nursery they founded in 1987, was put up for a sealed bid auction last month by its owner of the last 12 years, W....

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Taking Your Gardening Dollar, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on July 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm   This post has 15 responses.

Green for President

We’ve always said here that gardening is political, a way of opting out of a culture that pushes us to live lives powered entirely by fossil fuels and processed substances that bear only the slightest relationship to actual food. Food is political, as Michael Pollan has been telling us...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on July 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm   This post has 9 responses.

Nativism is Hurting our Public Lands

Guest Rant by Mary McAllister When I retired, a daily walk in the park became the high point of every day.  Soon I began to notice that trees in my local park in the San Francisco Bay Area were “disappearing.”  For the first time in my adult life I...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on July 12, 2012 at 7:06 am   This post has 111 responses.

Harnessing the power of the weed

It’s garden walk time in Western New York, where it’s hot, but not too hot to snoop around in other people’s backyards. We have three or four different garden walks in various neighborhoods/suburbs every weekend, culminating in the big Buffalo one at the end of this month. Yesterday, I...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on July 9, 2012 at 7:00 am   This post has 10 responses.


UPDATE: See comments for a response from Plantagon Community Director Thomas Selig. Drumroll, please. I present to you the latest development in urban agriculture: a futuristic vertical greenhouse that—making use of integrated solutions for energy, excess heat, waste, CO2 and water—will be the latest methodology for providing fresh food...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Uncategorized
Posted by on June 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm   This post has 20 responses.

Worst City/Gardener Clash Ever.

UPDATE:  Thanks to our alert readers for pointing out this petition you can sign. Meet Denise Morrison, a Tulsa gardener who carefully read the city code and followed it, planting nothing in her front yard that exceeded 12 inches in height unless it was edible. She grew an...

Read more in: Eat This, Feed Me, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on June 19, 2012 at 3:56 am   This post has 33 responses.

One rises; another falls

There’s no doubt that independent garden centers and nurseries—like many businesses—have been seeing their sales decline over the last few years. The percentage dips have been in as much as the double digits, depending on where you are in the U.S. Many nurseries and IGCs have been forced to...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on May 25, 2012 at 5:14 am   This post has 25 responses.
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