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    My Prairie Plot Thickens

      It would be a stretch to call our reconstituted former hay field a prairie. What we have is a beautiful contrivance—a make-believe prairie. Contrary to popular belief, Central Kentucky never had any prairies or savannas. The Inner Bluegrass was a deciduous forest with maple, bitternut hickory, ash, elm...

    Posted by on May 13, 2015 at 7:30 am.   This post has 19 responses.
    Guest Rants, Ministry of Controversy

    The Compostable Cup Trials

    Some years back, I ran across some compostable water bottles at a Starbucks in Seattle and, because of the skepticism deeply embedded in  ProfessorRoush’s academic soul, I thought it would be a neat idea to try to bring them back in my luggage and test their compost-worthiness at home....

    Posted by on May 11, 2015 at 7:26 am.   This post has 22 responses.
    It's the Plants, Darling

    Year Three in my Garden: Are the Perennials Leaping Yet?

    You know what they say about perennials – that in year one they sleep, in year two they creep and in year three they finally leap. So let’s see how that’s working out in my new(ish) garden. Even with a small townhouse garden like mine, going lawn-less is much...

    Posted by on May 8, 2015 at 6:41 am.   This post has 19 responses.
    Shut Up and Dig

    Two-wheeled tractors

    The most useful, and versatile, gardening tool I own is my two-wheel BCS tractor.  This Italian-made tractor was designed for small farms in hilly areas areas where riding on a tractor risks a roll-over, so with a BCS you walk behind the tractor, steering it with handle bars.   It...

    Posted by on May 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm.   This post has 6 responses.
    Real Gardens

    How I Spent My Spring

    Spring is always a whirlwind. Here are some things I’ve been doing lately in my 2-year-old garden. Feeling grateful and extremely lucky that the previous owner of this land planted trees decades ago, and now I get to live with them. Planting young trees, looking forward to watching them...

    Posted by on May 6, 2015 at 3:49 am.   This post has 6 responses.
    Unusually Clever People

    Not so smug in a beautiful, hard-won country garden

    Of the thirteen-plus acres they own in the exurban wilds of outer Hamburg in Western New York, Mike and Kathy Shadrack garden only about three and a half, but these cultivated areas represent hard-fought victories wrung from continuing struggles with shade, slopes, rocky soil, and hungry animals. The Shadracks’...

    Posted by on May 4, 2015 at 8:31 am.   This post has 7 responses.
    Unusually Clever People

    New Arboretum Director is Everyone’s Choice

    The 446-acre treasure in an unloved part of Washington, D.C. that is the National Arboretum has seemed down on its luck these last few years.  It had a short-term director (not a plant person), then several acting directors, and worst of all, a two-year cutback on public hours to just...

    Posted by on May 1, 2015 at 6:20 am.   This post has 10 responses.
    Everybody's a Critic


    Okay, this is a RANT. For some reason, colleagues always want to introduce me as a Landscape Architect – and I always correct them. I am a Garden Designer, and proud of it. I don’t even like the title “Landscape Designer” – I think “Landscape Designers” want to separate...

    Posted by on April 29, 2015 at 1:12 am.   This post has 45 responses.
    Taking Your Gardening Dollar

    Fiskers winners!

    Congratulations Gail Eichelberger, Sally Maguire, Christopher 41, Erin Ellis, and Susankro. (I used the best/most identifiable name I could find in the comment.) All 5 of you have won your choices of pruner, lopper, or shears. I will be emailing you. Thanks for playing everybody! It was interesting to...

    Posted by on April 28, 2015 at 9:00 am.   This post has 4 responses.
    GardenRant Airwaves, Shut Up and Dig

    Spring prep, gardening on the radio and—a giveaway

    When I was asked by our local NPR station to do a series on Buffalo gardens and gardening, of course I was happy to help out (i.e., this is a nonpaying gig, like so many I have). My first segment will be on early garden prep, which is still...

    Posted by on April 28, 2015 at 7:52 am.   This post has 66 responses.
    Ministry of Controversy

    The Left is Hotly Divided on GMOs

    Wow.  Just in the last few days the Daily Show ridiculed an anti-GMO activist. The New York Times opinion page carried “How I Got Converted to GMO Food” including this meaty bit: After writing two books on the science of climate change, I decided I could no longer continue taking...

    Posted by on April 27, 2015 at 10:19 am.   This post has 18 responses.
    Unusually Clever People

    From FFA Superstar to Botanic Garden Spokesman

    I recently met the new public affairs officer for the U.S. Botanic Gardens and when I found out his degree is in agricultural communications, I had to find out more. Devin Dotson grew up in a small rural town in northwest Alabama, where his family grew their own vegetables...

    Posted by on April 24, 2015 at 8:04 am.   This post has 13 responses.
    Unusually Clever People

    The Theosophic Turtle

    Adam Turtle may have been restless at times, but I doubt he has ever struggled much with boredom. The résumé of the Tennessee nurseryman and farmer is not a record of a dull life. Turtle has been “a boy scout, cowboy, fisherman, truck driver, chef, homeless bum, woodworker, sculptor,...

    Posted by on April 22, 2015 at 7:15 am.   This post has 4 responses.
    Eat This

    Grow your own?

    What do gardening and Japanese anime culture have in common? There are probably a number of strange intersections, but this is the only one I know about. And it’s weird. The Ripe Boyfriend Cultivation Set home gardening kits ask us to imagine vegetables and herbs as sexy young men....

    Posted by on April 20, 2015 at 8:00 am.   This post has 2 responses.
    Public Gardens

    Dumbarton Oaks in April

    Yesterday was the perfect day to visit Dumbarton Oaks, the Beatrix Farrand-designed garden and research facility in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood. Cherry trees and magnolias were still blooming, under blue skies.  I was reminded why the National Geographic named it the 6th best garden in the world. Above, the garden’s most iconic...

    Posted by on April 17, 2015 at 7:19 am.   This post has 6 responses.