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 and 13 consulting bodies to produce […]

Read more 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...

Read more 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,...

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

Read more 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,...

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

Read more 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...

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

What Does An Organic Gardener Do About Flea Control?

I'm sure my vet thinks I'm a terrible cat owner.  Whenever I bring Loretta in, they ask me nicely what I'm doing about flea control, and I mutter and shuffle my feet and make excuses.  The truth is that I don't know what to do. Those flea drops have...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 12, 2011 at 5:18 am   This post has 48 responses.

Who will buy my lawnless garden?

Breaking news – to anyone who knows me and assumed I’d never, ever leave my garden – I’m selling it and the house it surrounds.  Time to move on. Selling the Complicated Garden Any realtor will tell you that nice gardens may or may not be advantages in selling...

Read more in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on September 27, 2011 at 6:25 am   This post has 19 responses.

Contribute photos of groundcovers that can replace lawns!

Lawn Reformers are getting lots of questions about specific plants that can be used en masse to create a low, lawn-like expanse in the landscape and we're frustrated by the lack of detailed, regionally specific information about the plants people are asking about – Carexes, buffalo grass, low-input grass...

Read more in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on September 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm   This post has 6 responses.

Farmers Markets and the Etsy Problem

Apparently, in some parts of the country, farmers markets have expanded so much that they've run out of customers to sell to, and they're finding it hard to command the premium price they'd grown accustomed to. This poses a problem for those of us who would like to see...

Read more in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 31, 2011 at 4:30 am   This post has 31 responses.

Garden Designers Roundtable: From lawn to Sedum, clover, bare soil and erosion!

The Garden Designers Roundtable invited the Lawn Reform Coalition to be their guest blogger(s) this month, combining forces to publish 19 articles about Lawn Replacement on the same day, and linking to each other. Great idea, designers!  Scroll down for the links to those 18 other blog posts, including...

Read more in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on August 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm   This post has 37 responses.

Hot Topics on Other Blogs

I love finding blog posts somewhere ELSE that take on controversial topics, and lately I've seen some doozies. Here are three, and keep sending me links, everyone! That professorial yet bold stirrer-of-the-pot, Jeff Gillman, shows readers that it isn't just glyphosate that kills frogs, but vinegar, too.  And he...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 9, 2011 at 5:22 am   This post has 15 responses.

The podcast of Linda Chalker-Scott – and why garden writers should consult with garden professors

The PodcastNew this week – Linda also has a podcast!  And here's the first one. (It features an in-garden interview with designer Richard Greenberg, shown here.)  She was lucky enough to team up with a broadcasting professional, so the technical quality is excellent. And if you don't hate Linda...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 2, 2011 at 10:24 am   This post has 4 responses.
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