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    It's the Plants, Darling

    Amsonia, Aster and Capital Columns at the National Arboretum

    I’ve been waiting eagerly for these plants to reach their peak of fall color and yesterday they dee-livered!  After posting this on Facebook I learned that the designer is well-known plantswoman Angela Treadwell-Palmer.  Great example of the kind of native-plant design being promoted by Thomas Rainer, who just turned...

    Posted by on October 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm.   This post has 4 responses.
    Guest Rants

    It’s Probably My Elephant

    Guest Rant by Joe Schmitt  They say a garden dies with the gardener, but mine has other plans:  Step one, reaching through my window and strangling me in my sleep.  The rest will be easy.  Consume my house, head next door, finish off the rest of the block and...

    Posted by Joe Schmitt on October 18, 2014 at 7:52 am.   This post has 24 responses.
    But is it Art?

    From Lawn to Portrait in Sand to Soccer Field

    For just this month a 6-acre strip of lawn on the National Mall has been turned into a portrait in sand and dirt by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada called “Out of Many, One.” Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, it’s a composite of many ethnic groups, a generic face of Americans. About...

    Posted by on October 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm.   This post has 4 responses.
    Shut Up and Dig

    Laissez-faire Garden Design: A Long Conversation with Nature

    My style of gardening proceeds like an ongoing conversation between gardener and Nature. Here is how that conversation might go when choosing plants for a new garden. If the gardener has enough experience to realize how important listening is to this conversation, the first step will be taking time...

    Posted by on October 15, 2014 at 5:03 am.   This post has 11 responses.
    It's the Plants, Darling

    Hail the anti-mums

    Actually, I do have two gigantic pots of mums that were purchased from a work colleague’s kid (to fund a soccer team or something). At only $8 each, they are way huge for their tiny pots—indeed scarily so. (I have to think they’re overfertilized.) Nonetheless, I brought them home...

    Posted by on October 13, 2014 at 7:42 am.   This post has 17 responses.
    Lawn Reform

    Report from the Transition Zone: Sustainable Turfgrasses Tested at U.Md.

    It’s kinda frustrating here in the Mid-Atlantic “Transition Zone” for turfgrasses because neither warm- or cold-season grasses are best suited to our climate.  The frustration was pronounced as I looked for examples of the more sustainable, no-mow-type fine fescues that are being touted from colder climes.  (Here’s a shout-out from...

    Posted by on October 10, 2014 at 9:26 am.   This post has 7 responses.
    Real Gardens

    Sins of My Lawn: Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu

      I confess: I keep a lawn. Call me heathen. I know lawns are environmentally suspect, but mine doesn’t ask for much. I’ve applied nothing from the periodic table that screams Skull and Crossbones. And I won’t plow this spit of land for the sake of butterfly weeds or...

    Posted by on October 8, 2014 at 7:21 am.   This post has 17 responses.
    Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens

    Urban prairie envy

    I’m not the owner of this house, nor am I the designer of the pictured front yard, but I do admire  the knowledge,  commitment and creativity of whoever made this garden. I came across this house on a random trip around town while driving down a street that I...

    Posted by on October 6, 2014 at 7:48 am.   This post has 39 responses.
    Unusually Clever People

    Meeting Animals

    You may not be surprised to hear that, though I adore plants, I garden primarily for animals and the life they bring to a place. Growing up, I was taught by my mother to treat animals gently and respectfully, whether they are pets or wild creatures. Mom and I...

    Posted by on October 3, 2014 at 1:11 am.   This post has 5 responses.
    Books

    1952 Gardening Rule: “Display good taste and exercise restraint.”

    At a used-book sale to benefit the local elementary school, I found two gardening books old enough to pique my interest. First up is the Home Owners’ Complete Garden Handbook “by “top-ranking authority John Hayes Melady,” whoever he was (book didn’t say).  But look – the book is actually...

    Posted by on October 2, 2014 at 8:15 am.   This post has 21 responses.
    Guest Rants

    A Testament to the Spirit of the Gardener

    Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray I try not to judge gardener-created art or design because I feel so much of it is subjective.  We all have different tastes.  However, the only aspect I do constantly question is the “fortress look” in deer protection I wrote about here. Today I...

    Posted by Wendy Kiang-Spray on September 30, 2014 at 8:08 am.   This post has 15 responses.
    Real Gardens

    Foliage watch

    Leaf tourists had better get moving. My unscientific observations, based on a weekend trip south of Buffalo, indicate that peak—at least around here—seems days, rather than weeks away. We were surrounded by red and gold during the drive down and back from Ellicottville, New York, which is ski central...

    Posted by on September 29, 2014 at 8:24 am.   This post has 3 responses.
    Gardening on the Planet, Unusually Clever People

    When Wildlife Gardens Look Like Gardens

    Many of you wildlife gardeners will recognize the name Pat Sutton. She’s the Cape May, NJ-based naturalist who’s developed quite a following among people interested in gardening for wildlife, a group whose numbers she adds to with every class or tour she leads. I attended Pat’s Tour of Private...

    Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm.   This post has 8 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling

    Potfuls of Coleus

    Like Ivette, I ignore the ubiquitous Thriller-Filler-Spiller advice for container plantings – because the more species in a single pot, the harder it is to keep the thing looking good. Ditto getting it to look good in the first place. For me, containers look best simplified, like the 3...

    Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 9:09 am.   This post has 2 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes

    I’m the Thriller Filler Spiller Killer!

    I hate rules. I mean really, I do. I always have. My brain won’t accept them. If someone tells me that THIS is the way to do a thing, I will try and find another way to do it. It may come from my years as an actor, and...

    Posted by on September 24, 2014 at 2:17 am.   This post has 51 responses.