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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. Atlee Burpee & Co. . . […]

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Read related articles 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...

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Read related articles 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...

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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...

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

Plantagon!

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...

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Read related articles 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 Change.org 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...

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Read related articles 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...

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

More on the sustainability of federal landscapes

I was pretty excited to report on new guidelines for sustainable federal properties, but wondered how enforceable these guidelines are and promised to try to find out more.  I did.  It's a bit discouraging.  I talked with Ray Mims, the point guy on pulling together input from 31 agencies...

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Read related articles in: Green the Grounds
Posted by on March 27, 2012 at 5:56 am   This post has 7 responses.

The great Dyngus Day pussy willow crisis of 2012

“Without the proper pussy willows, who knows. Marriages might not happen. Relationships could fall apart,”—Eddy Dobosiewicz, Dyngus Day Buffalo co-founder Those of you who are wondering what the hell Dyngus Day is and why pussy willows are involved should not feel ill-informed. Celebrated the Monday following Easter Sunday, Dyngus...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on March 26, 2012 at 4:57 am   This post has 8 responses.

The Highways BEE Act: Politics as Usual

Sigh.  So here's a perfectly smart and sensible bill that's going nowhere. Has anyone been following the Highways BEE Act?  It is a revenue-neutral bill (should actually save money) that directs the Secretary of Transportation to use already existing resources and programs to work with the state highway departments,...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 23, 2012 at 6:29 am   This post has 27 responses.

An Anti-Valentine to the Lawn

For Valentine's Day, Timber Books has invited some bloggers to write anti-valentines to lawns, to help spread the word about Beautiful No-Mow Yards. (Click here to see the anti-Valentines of my blogging buddies.) I'll start with a photo that shows lawn at its most perfect and ridiculous.  Next, here...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on February 14, 2012 at 4:30 am   This post has 18 responses.

Dilemma: Finding a Nonprofit you can Trust

Issues related to money and nonprofit organizations are popping up all over the place – whether it's politicizing their grant-making or taking money from unsavory corporations.  In that latter category and receiving almost no attention in the mainstream media (with one exception) is the National Wildlife Federation's partnership with...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 7, 2012 at 6:01 am   This post has 14 responses.

For Sale: One Botanical Garden

photo: Garden Conservancy In other bad news, UCLA is putting its Hannah Center Japanese Garden up for sale. That's right:  if you have a few million bucks, you can actually own this place.  The university needs the money, and they decided they couldn't continue to spend $140,000 per year...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 25, 2012 at 10:29 am   This post has 9 responses.

A Tree? For Me? Oh, You Shouldn’t Have!

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the City of San Francisco is working through a process of notifying residents that the street trees next to their property are now their responsibility. Each tree is individually assessed and a notice is posted and sent to the property owner when...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 25, 2012 at 5:28 am   This post has 12 responses.

More Beautiful No-Mow Yards

As promised in my first post about this book, here are more photos from the book, just a few of my favorites. Above, the tiny urban back yard of DC Master Gardener Barbara Dinsmore.  Photo by Lucy Dinsmore. Below, pink muhly grass in a California yard.  Photo by Saxon...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on January 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm   This post has 12 responses.

Beautiful No-Mow Yards is just what American gardeners need. And you can win it right here

In the last year or so, we’re hearing that there are better uses for our land than turfgrass, that unless it’s needed for sport or play, you can save on resources and probably your labor, too, by switching to an array of alternatives – meadows, vegetable gardens, native grasse,...

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Read related articles in: Everybody's a Critic, Lawn Reform
Posted by on January 24, 2012 at 6:54 am   This post has 161 responses.

Sign a Petition to Stop Mexico’s Botanical Foolishness

(via Flickr) This just in:  Mexico’s trademark bureau (called the IMPI)  has issued a proposal to restrict the use of the word “agave” as it is used to describe some agave-distilled spirits.  Under the proposal, which is sponsored by the tequila industry’s trade group, only spirits produced within a...

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Read related articles in: Drink This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm   This post has 8 responses.

In 2012, it would be nice if …

A 2011 highlight: our garden blogger visit to Seattle's Dragonfly Farms Nursery. Here's my wish list for the New Year. Some of this is reasonable; some of it isn’t. And please feel free to add your own in comments! It would be nice if … Every community had a...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 3, 2012 at 5:00 am   This post has 23 responses.

Making the Case for Good Food

I was in New York on Sunday, and some friends invited me to an event sponsored by the picky eater offshoots of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Big Food and the Food Justice committee of Occupy Wall Street. The event included a farmers' rally in an East Village community garden and...

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Read related articles in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on December 9, 2011 at 7:52 am   This post has 8 responses.

The Sad Tale of the Christmas Tree Tax, or, How Stupid People Ruin Everything for the Rest of Us.

(A very silly, but nonetheless live, Christmas tree I once had.)   Everything that is wrong with our political process can be found within the sad, miserable story of the Christmas Tree Tax That Never Was. Some of you have already heard this story and don't wish to re-hash...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 30, 2011 at 4:32 am   This post has 52 responses.
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