Testing Pollinator Plants at Penn State

Just in time for National Pollinator Week, my Garden Writers region planned a fabulous outing for members – to see the Penn State Trial Gardens near York, PA, especially their trials for pollinator plants. The goal is “to evaluate native species and their cultivars for attractiveness to pollinators and suitability for homeowner and agricultural use,” which is […]

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on June 23, 2017 at 6:50 am   This post has 3 responses.

Natives – A Moving Target?

  There was a certain irony in the timing, given America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.  Still, last week was the time when a group of Master Gardeners had asked me to give them a lecture about the possible effects on gardening of global climate change – and...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says, Uncategorized
Posted by on June 5, 2017 at 11:46 am   This post has 8 responses.

The Mysterious Case of the Orange Petunia

  If you’re growing an orange petunia this summer, you may be one of the lucky ones. Or the afflicted ones. Orangish petunias were taken off the market several weeks ago, in Europe, when a Finnish watchdog agency, Evira, announced they had discovered that the summer flowering annual had...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on May 24, 2017 at 8:02 am   This post has 16 responses.

When trees come in handy

In our part of the world (and a lot of other places), the weather news has been simple: pouring rain, day in and day out. It just started to let up over the weekend. Rain is supposed to be good news for gardeners, but you’d never know it from...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on May 9, 2017 at 8:51 am   This post has Comments Off on When trees come in handy.

Quit throwing out the scary stuff: compost it instead!

As I emptied buckets of human waste into a bin filled with red wigglers, the realization hit me: I had reached peak compost. This was it. Eggshells and hair were just gateway drugs. Later I got into the hard stuff: moldy lasagna, spoiled stew, roadkill… And now here I...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Guest Rants, Science Says, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by David the Good on May 4, 2017 at 8:00 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Science of Gardening

Despite the cold rain, Saturday April 22nd was a great time to be walking the streets of Washington D.C.  The occasion for my outing was the March for Science, and there were tens of thousands of self-described nerds thronging Constitution Avenue on the approach the Capitol.  Included, besides myself...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on May 1, 2017 at 8:06 am   This post has 3 responses.

The Wrong Way to Teach Eco-Friendly Gardening

I recently attended a “Green Yards and Gardens” talk in my town. The intern giving the talk was more knowledgeable than I expected, but the topics covered were no surprise: natives, invasives, pesticides, composting, and rain barrels, the usual bullet points. Afterward I asked some attendees I knew how...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on April 21, 2017 at 8:05 am   This post has 45 responses.

Pollen, Politics and Doomsday Prep

I’ve been a careless victim of too many late nights in my past, but knocking back shots of Bourbon into the wee hours did not redden my eyes this spring. Pollen is the culprit. The warm late winter and early spring brought flowers into bloom earlier than usual. And...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on April 19, 2017 at 7:28 am   This post has 7 responses.

The One and Only Poison Ivy Horticulturist

Superman was the most thrilling comic book hero of my boyhood. “Look… Up in the sky…It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!” I felt better knowing that good would conquer evil—eventually. Now, J.J. Burkman and the “team of horticulturalists-turned-heroes are fighting an evil villain named Heart Root and...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Science Says, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on April 12, 2017 at 8:07 am   This post has 4 responses.

Clean water? Fresh air? Unspoiled national parks? Science? Who needs ’em?

After appointing what are essentially bizzaro-world choices to lead the EPA, and other government offices that might affect the natural environment, the current administration has removed key  protections through executive order and plans to get rid of many more through upcoming budget changes. The done deals include allowing coal...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on April 4, 2017 at 10:05 am   This post has 4 responses.

Is Facebook a great place for gardening questions? Usually not.

It can depend on who’s in your friend list, but I’ve seen enough to determine that asking random gardening questions on Facebook is an exercise in frustration and bad information. The ones I have seen on my feed—usually about plant IDs or houseplant problems—get such a wide range of...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Science Says, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 27, 2017 at 2:55 pm   This post has 2 responses.

Stormwater Management at its Most Beautiful

Ed Snodgrass is the internationally known green-roof author, consultant and grower whose own Maryland nursery experienced downpours gushing downhill, unstopped by mere turfgrass. Of course he was using vegetated roofs, but that wasn’t enough. As Ed wrote me, “Even though the farm is mostly pervious, in high intensity events water...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on September 14, 2016 at 7:13 pm   This post has Comments Off on Stormwater Management at its Most Beautiful.

#TBT: Natives are hot, but am I hot for natives? Or just confused?

Native plants—a topic that we’ll be discussing for rants to come. In this one from March, 2007, Elizabeth is noting the vast differences between the original environments for these species and her urban garden in Buffalo (among other things). She has a lot more native plants now than she...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on March 17, 2016 at 9:11 am   This post has 10 responses.

Super bloom snapshot

Right now, sprinkled throughout sections of vast Death Valley National Park, are swaths of color standing out from the usual palette of faded greens, and soft grays and browns. A rare super bloom, the result of three unusual October rainstorms, (three inches of rain instead of an annual one...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants
Posted by Nancy J. Parisi on March 14, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 6 responses.

Sustainable Cow Pots for Better Garden Plants

The best kind of sustainability is to take a waste product and turn it into a valuable resource; to turn garbage, as it were, into gold. There’s a farm family in northwestern Connecticut doing just that these days, and in the process it’s also creating an opportunity for gardeners....

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says, Shut Up and Dig, Uncategorized
Posted by on February 15, 2016 at 9:28 am   This post has 21 responses.

GMO Trees

Some time ago I wrote a post suggesting the need for genetic engineering to endow American trees with resistance to the introduced, non-native pests that are ravaging our forests.   Recently I learned about progress in a project designed to do precisely that. A century ago. the American chestnut was...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on January 18, 2016 at 10:57 am   This post has 10 responses.

How about some weird wildflower seeds?

CONTEST CLOSED!!!!! Before Christmas, my husband and I had dinner with the wildflower queen herself, Miriam Goldberger, and her husband Paul Jenkins. We see them once or twice a year, because their company, Wildflower Farms, based in Coldwater, Ontario, has a Buffalo distribution center. After the events of 9/11/01...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on January 12, 2016 at 8:27 am   This post has 25 responses.

Waterwise in New Mexico

Today’s Guest Rant by Hunter Ten Broeck, founder of the design firm WaterWise Landscapes based in Albuquerque, highlights an upcoming conference that has changed landscaping and water use patterns in New Mexico while building community. You’ll also get a peek at some regional waterwise gardens. It may surprise you...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by Hunter Ten Broeck on January 6, 2016 at 2:14 pm   This post has 8 responses.

To Help Save Habitat, Drink this Coffee

Sure, you can buy coffee that’s certified organic, but there’s another certification that includes organic and goes even farther – Bird-Friendly Coffee. Our seal of approval ensures tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds find a healthy haven when they travel from your backyard to those faraway farms producing the...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on December 4, 2015 at 8:00 am   This post has 8 responses.

A Great New Aid to Plant Identification

Plant identification has always been my nemesis.  I recognize old friends, but confront me with a new-comer, an unknown, and I am at a loss.  There are tools for identifying unfamiliar plants, of course.  These are botanical keys.  I was supposed to master these during my days as a...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on December 3, 2015 at 10:14 am   This post has 3 responses.