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    Public Gardens

    Don’t be a bad botanical gardens board member like me

    At the end of this year, I will have completed my two allotted terms on the board of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. I use the strictly technical meaning of the term “completed.” My name has appeared on the list of board of directors on the BECBG...

    Posted by on December 15, 2014 at 9:08 am.   This post has 2 responses.
    Unusually Clever People

    Presidentially appointed but unpaid landscape architects making our spaces better

    Here in DC, big projects that affect the look of Washington and our enjoyment thereof must be approved by all sorts of agencies, but my favorite and the one I’ve seen make the most improvements through their review is the oddly named U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.  Its website...

    Posted by on December 12, 2014 at 8:00 am.   This post has 4 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Guest Rants

    The Seven Deadly Sins of Landscaping – Sinners Beware!

    Guest Rant by Lori Hawkins Just as Dante identified the seven deadly sins in his Inferno, so we will explore the cardinal sins of the landscaping world.  Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride are all alive and well!  They will all be identified with examples of the...

    Posted by Lori Hawkins on December 11, 2014 at 7:21 am.   This post has 18 responses.
    Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People

    Deep-Rooted Wisdom for the Holidays

         I skipped Black Friday again this year. I shop at Christmastime only under duress, but as days grow shorter, my noose tightens. Yuletide suffocation draws nigh. There is no way I’m going to the mall, but I hate to be all Bah! Humbug! This year I found a holiday remedy to...

    Posted by on December 10, 2014 at 5:01 am.   This post has 8 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Lawn Reform, Unusually Clever People

    Meadow Day in Maryland

    Meadows are HOT these days, thanks to anti-lawn sentiments, concern for pollinators, and some smart designers and plant researchers.  I encountered all of the above one day last month. University of Maryland at College Park First I attended a talk+tour at the University of Maryland about the meadows on...

    Posted by on December 5, 2014 at 9:44 am.   This post has 7 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Gardening on the Planet

    Winter Soundscapes

    Winter offers less visual stimulation. I find myself noticing smells and sounds more. Maybe it’s just that every little bit of sensory input is more important, there being less overall. For the most part, it is a season of quiet. Snow and fog muffle the sounds of vehicles. People...

    Posted by on December 3, 2014 at 2:01 am.   This post has 8 responses.
    It's the Plants, Darling

    In lieu of

    Sad fact—as the years go by, there are more wakes and funerals to attend. Increasingly, we have been recognizing the passings of friends and relatives, or supporting our friends and relatives in their losses. Acknowledging death is just another part of living, but it’s not one of my favorite...

    Posted by on December 2, 2014 at 7:49 am.   This post has 12 responses.
    Lawn Reform

    Lawn Alternative Update from the Scott Arboretum

    Years ago I visited the Scott Arboretum to learn about alternatives to lawn and see the ones they were growing there.  (Here’s my 2008 report.)  Last month I returned for another event but made time to revisit their lawn-alt plants, too.  (Wonder if we can get that term to...

    Posted by on November 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm.   This post has 13 responses.
    Eat This, Guest Rants

    New Roots is Planting Seeds of Change for Refugees in America

    Guest post by Kimberly Bryant What difference can a garden make? To newly arrived refugees in America, the answer is plenty. It’s no secret that gardening is a pleasant way for the average person to get in touch with nature, but it holds an even deeper meaning for those...

    Posted by Kimberly Bryant on November 27, 2014 at 7:53 am.   This post has 3 responses.
    Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling, Unusually Clever People


    This year is a special year for me. The day after Thanksgiving, I will celebrate half a century on this planet, so I am being extra thankful. I am thankful that one day, 22 years ago, I walked outside of my newly purchased home and started looking at the...

    Posted by on November 26, 2014 at 12:44 am.   This post has 14 responses.
    Shut Up and Dig

    Lake effect

    Weather—we gardeners live and die by it. It may be a universal favorite as a water cooler topic, but when the chat is over, most can pretty much forget about it and move on. Not if you’re a gardener. Even now, when the work of the season is over,...

    Posted by on November 24, 2014 at 8:00 am.   This post has 6 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes

    Can a Garden Contest Teach and Inspire?

    We bash Homeowners Associations regularly for their crazy, backward-looking rules against growing edibles, eliminating lawn, growing wilder-looking plants (horrors!) and more. But what if a condo or coop association used their collective power and authority to improve the yards under their jurisdiction? Could get radical! The 1,600-townhouse cooperative community...

    Posted by on November 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm.   This post has 10 responses.
    Public Gardens, Real Gardens

    Swarthmore: One of the Most Beautiful Campuses in America

    I first visited and fell in love with the Scott Arboretum, covering the entire campus of Swarthmore College, back in 2008 when I visited for a talk on lawn alternatives.  I finally made a return visit last month when I attended its annual Perennial Plant Conference, where some of the top...

    Posted by on November 20, 2014 at 6:07 am.   This post has 8 responses.
    Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Real Gardens

    Snow: Lessons in Perspective

    Why is it that, after a snowfall, the landscape looks so much better, even if nothing has changed underneath? Snow offers the opportunity to view your garden with new perspective and insights that can make it more enjoyable in every season. When you hear the phrase “winter interest,” you...

    Posted by on November 19, 2014 at 12:51 am.   This post has 6 responses.
    Taking Your Gardening Dollar

    Possibilities vs. limitations

    As I finish potting up bulbs against the winter, rejoicing in the new space for it I have now that I’m using the attic, it occurred to me that the effort to do more, to go beyond the perceived limits, is my favorite thing about gardening and it’s also...

    Posted by on November 18, 2014 at 9:00 am.   This post has 7 responses.