Contrasting Front Yards: Turf Only v. Wildlife-Filled

I love this video by Beltsville, MD wildlife gardener Marcia Van Dorn.   I know Marcia because she created a video of Greenbelt’s Less Lawn Garden Tour.  Next, she volunteered to help me improve the videos I’m making of DC’s public gardens and wow, what a difference she’s made already.  Marcia uses the free Windows Moviemaker […]

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on April 24, 2014 at 7:47 am   This post has no responses.

A Garden of Marvels Highlights and Giveaway

As promised, here’s a follow-up to Ruth Kassinger’s guest rant.  She wrote the very popular Paradise Under Glass and now A Garden of Marvels, which was published just this week. I don’t review many garden books because I passed the learning-to-garden phase years ago and of the few books...

Read more in: Science Says
Posted by on February 28, 2014 at 7:43 am   This post has 52 responses.

It’s cold, it’s white, it’s going on forever, and it’s not even killing the bugs

Some of us are having trouble remembering the benefits of a cold, snowy winter. Especially when the disadvantages are so omnipresent every day of single digit temps, slick roads with minimal visibility, and—always—shoveling. Buffalo went from around 30 inches of winter snowfall at this time last year to 90-plus...

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Posted by on February 10, 2014 at 8:20 am   This post has 7 responses.

The secret light of plants

Welcome to the groovy world of glow-in-the-dark plants. They’re not much more than a novelty now, but a company called Bioglow has been developing plants that produce their own ambient light since 2007. It’s the result of genetic engineering (with the expected protests); the transplanted genes create auto-luminescent Nicotiana...

Read more in: Science Says
Posted by on January 27, 2014 at 6:28 am   This post has 5 responses.

No tree, no problem

Most years, we have the Christmas tree post here on Rant (here’s a great one); the topic is a source of mild controversy among gardeners, mainly because of the sustainability angle. It breaks down this way: Just buy a cut tree Trees are an agricultural product and buying from...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on December 17, 2013 at 9:45 am   This post has 9 responses.

How to Stop Bee-Killing Pesticides? Start with the Box Stores!

The first alarm about bee-killing pesticides that caught my eye warned of plants that had been sprayed with neonicotinoids doing the killing.  Then petitions like this one got my attention and I hoped it meant that only the big boxes stores were at fault here, selling horrible products.  But...

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Posted by on December 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm   This post has 25 responses.

I was a Lab Rat for GMO Apples

How does a gardenblogger find something to write about in December?  By jumping at the chance to taste-test produce for the USDA, that’s how, at least if it’s just 5 minutes from home.  Anyway, I was curious about the process, starting with the detailed pre-test instructions – no eating/drinking...

Read more in: Eat This, Science Says
Posted by on December 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm   This post has 47 responses.

We Only Bond with Complex Landscapes

Here’s one of my beefs with lawns: where is the mystery? We live within this awe-inspiring natural world, teeming with diverse creatures and plants. We have a built-in fascination for other living things (1). Why would we construct our daily environments in such a way that we avoid being...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on December 4, 2013 at 2:04 am   This post has 40 responses.

Help make the Arboretum Lawn Education Program a Good One!

Readers may remember this post announcing a forthcoming lawn education program at the National Arboretum financed entirely by the turf industry. (Scroll down here to see the funders).  Well, it’s now a reality, with the official ground-breaking event last week, and I’m more concerned than ever.  Though I’m a...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on November 22, 2013 at 9:47 am   This post has 2 responses.

Lawn Pesticides Outlawed!

My former hometown, the leftie enclave of Takoma Park, Maryland, has made big news, y’all!  Since passing the Safe Grow Zone Act last summer it became the first town in the U.S. to outlaw lawn pesticides on not just public but also private land.  Some jurisdictions – in Connecticut,...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, What's Happening
Posted by on November 8, 2013 at 7:57 am   This post has 16 responses.

Annoying step back or welcome relief?

Unlike scrapbooking, genealogy, homebrewing, model trains, or cosplay, gardening brings with it an inseparable relationship to time and season. During the late fall and early spring—whenever those may fall for you—we are most at the mercy of that relationship. And for some gardeners, the interventions of the twice-yearly time...

Read more in: Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on November 4, 2013 at 8:02 am   This post has 17 responses.

Native Plants are a Moral Choice

Guest Rant by Benjamin Vogt It’s late July and I’ve finally seen my first monarch butterfly, but only after the Liatris ligulistylis started blooming. This is a very, very late start. In 2010 I raised 200 from egg to wing, then in 2011 a solid 150, last year only...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 20, 2013 at 7:19 am   This post has 130 responses.

Coming soon to your neighborhood – the super-polluting gas-powered leaf blower!

In today’s Washington Post, “Gas-powered leaf blowers: Simply terrible for the air.”  (That’s the title in the print version.)  And then there’s the deafening noise.

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on September 17, 2013 at 9:08 am   This post has 17 responses.

Finding Native-Plant Beauty in the Bronx

While I was visiting New York City earlier this month I didn’t JUST visit the High Line.  Also on my agenda was the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, about which I’d read so much when it opened this spring.  It was designed by DC-area landscape...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on August 23, 2013 at 7:47 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Assistants

My fair city of Saratoga Springs, NY really feels like a city in the Adirondack woods. We are very close to the southeastern border of the Adirondack Park, and the city is old enough so that there are numerous giant trees along the streets and in the yards.  Many of...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens
Posted by on August 13, 2013 at 11:10 am   This post has 13 responses.

Totally Silly?

Like most of humanity, I am a largely inexplicable and highly individual mixture of profligacy and frugality.  I think I should only wear the nicest Italian shoes, which are no longer affordable for the middle class.  So I wait like a cat in the bushes watching a bird, until they...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on July 23, 2013 at 6:20 am   This post has 28 responses.

Hey, Mayor Bloomberg! Here’s Your New Compost Plan

You may have read that Mayor Bloomberg has a new food scrap composting plan for New York City.  It works just the same way suburban food scrap programs do:  everybody gets a new bin, everybody has to take another step when they separate their trash, everybody has to haul...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on June 26, 2013 at 5:27 am   This post has 18 responses.

Trees by the numbers

This sign was attached to a tree near my house. Did you hear or read the Arbor Day reports on the financial benefits of trees? On American Public Media’s Marketplace,  they used i-tree to calculate the value of single trees as well as entire urban plantings. A ficus tree...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on April 29, 2013 at 7:23 am   This post has 8 responses.

Wild Bee, I think I love you…*

Guest Rant by Will Raap   Honey bees and wild pollinators need your help and need it now. Gardeners know that good pollination makes for better crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and raspberries. And that’s especially true for certain commercial crops like almonds, which need to have 1 million honey...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants
Posted by on April 25, 2013 at 7:26 am   This post has 5 responses.

Here’s to No-Blow Gardens

Guest Rant by Evelyn Hadden Let’s face it, the outdoors is getting noisier, and not in a good way. It used to be that a person could find calm, quiet places even in the city — be it a park, a secluded backyard, or a low-traffic residential street. But...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants
Posted by on March 21, 2013 at 6:55 am   This post has 57 responses.
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