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Bourbon Disease Could Be Worse Than a Bad Hangover

  The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner—the first Saturday in May. I am gripped with fear. I won’t lose sleep over another losing Derby bet, but I’ve just read in the past few weeks that Bourbon disease could rear its ugly head.  I hope not, but who knows? This is not some virulent […]

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Posted by on April 9, 2015 at 7:57 am   This post has 4 responses.

There’s Hope for Urban Design

‘Tis the season of garden seminars. Recently I participated in a thought-provoking one-day seminar on the theme of bringing nature into our cities. I spoke about hellstrip gardens, but a couple of the other speakers addressed larger-scale landscapes. After seeing their photos and hearing about so many projects that...

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Posted by on April 8, 2015 at 2:03 am   This post has 9 responses.

Pesticide Bans Arriving in U.S.

The banning of pesticides on ornamentals plants started in Canada but is gradually spreading to the south. Liberal Takoma Park, MD recently became the first place in the U.S. to implement such a ban on public and private property, as reported here. And now the proponents of that ban are taking it...

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Posted by on April 3, 2015 at 8:33 am   This post has 11 responses.

Clinging to big chem

Glyphosate and neonics—herbicides and pesticides contested as benign by most of big ag and big gardening— were in the news again. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has stated that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans; its evidence came from human agricultural exposure as well...

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Posted by on March 30, 2015 at 8:30 am   This post has 8 responses.

Poor Man’s Fertilizer

As I contemplate the task of plowing the driveway, I find it hard to see anything appealing in last night’s snowfall.  It seemed to me that we already had plenty of the white stuff, with a blanket some 14 inches deep.  However, I’m trying to console myself with the...

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Posted by on February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm   This post has 7 responses.

My Epigenetic Epiphany and the Gingko Hermaphrodite

  High up in a white pine last summer, on our farm in Salvisa, Kentucky, I spotted something odd. I called my neighbor Otis Knox and asked him if he’d ever seen a Witches’ Broom. He came down to investigate. I pointed toward the 30” diameter growth. Otis said...

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Posted by on February 11, 2015 at 6:20 am   This post has 17 responses.

You can Help Bring “Hometown Habitat” to the Screen

I’m guessing you all know Doug Tallamy, the entomologist whose Bringing Nature Home turned so many people into native-plant gardeners.  Now there’s a chance that a full-length documentary with Tallamy featuring interviews of inspiring “Habitat Heroes” will become a reality.  Especially if you donate. The movie, called “Hometown Habitat”...

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Posted by on February 6, 2015 at 6:33 am   This post has 11 responses.

“Kiss Your Ash Good Bye”

That’s what the Massachusetts state forester told me – the emerald ash borer is on the loose in southern Berkshire County where my wife and I have our 130-acre woodlot and within the next couple of years this pest is expected to kill virtually all the native ashes, or...

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Posted by on January 18, 2015 at 11:05 am   This post has 18 responses.

A welcome ban

Large-scale environmental issues are not always considered appropriate subject matter in the garden blogging world, but I’ve never been able to see the reason.  Going from discussing the use of chemical solutions in a domestic landscape to the use of chemical solutions injected at high pressure in a rural...

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Posted by on December 23, 2014 at 9:14 am   This post has 16 responses.

Novel ecosystems vs. urban wilderness

I’ve been thinking about a symposium (“The Changing Nature of Nature in Cities”) I attended at the New York Botanical Garden in November.   The topic  of the symposium was “novel ecosystems” – fundamentally, this is the idea that some ecosystems, especially urban ones, have been so radically transformed that...

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 at 8:30 am   This post has 16 responses.

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...

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 at 2:01 am   This post has 8 responses.

THANKS,

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...

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

The Monsters Among Us

Happy Halloween. I hope to really scare you. Because there ARE monsters. There are things that are truly frightening in our world, and we gardeners are on the front lines, either fighting these forces of evil, or being victimized by them. OR, we stand by and do nothing… and...

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Posted by on October 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm   This post has 76 responses.

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...

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Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm   This post has 8 responses.

Support this Lawn-to-Prairie Make-Over

Friend-of-Rant Benjamin Vogt wrote to tell me about his exciting new project on Indiegogo -ripping out his front lawn and replacing it with a wildlife garden that he’ll use to spread the word about how beautiful wildlife and native-plant gardens can be – even in front yards.  He went...

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Posted by on September 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm   This post has 12 responses.

How to Grow Bluebirds

Last Friday I rode shotgun through the Beltsville Ag Research Center in Marcia van Horn’s Ranger as she checked on some of her 175 nesting boxes for bluebirds and tree swallows, with the occasional chickadee, titmouse, wrens or nuthatches taking advantage of the accommodations. Nest boxes were first installed on the 6,700-acre property...

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Posted by on July 25, 2014 at 6:49 am   This post has 7 responses.

One size fits all?

What do St. Cloud, Minnesota and Westerly, Rhode Island have in common? Westerly is a seaside community in southern Rhode Island; St Cloud lies in central Minnesota and is bisected by the Mississippi river. Summers and winters are more moderate in Westerly; winter temperatures fall to greater depths in...

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Posted by on July 21, 2014 at 9:07 am   This post has 17 responses.

Are you a “New Conservationist”?

In a recent issue of the New Yorker I learned that the current head of the Nature Conservancy is a “new conservationist” who’s butting heads with “traditional conservationists.” Also termed “eco-pragmatism,” this growing attitude among environmentalists challenges the traditional goal of preserving nature in some pristine condition or returning it...

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 at 7:41 am   This post has 51 responses.

From Organic-Only to Big-Picture Sustainability

I recommend a fascinating article in Wednesday’s Food Section of the Washington Post this week: “Organic standards fight over synthetics  shows there’s room for a third system,” starting with the news that proposed broadening of organic standards brought out the protesters at a recent meeting, and the police had to...

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Posted by on June 20, 2014 at 11:03 am   This post has 16 responses.

Is Your Local Garden Center Taking Action on Neonicotinoids?

What’s killing the bees?  The pesticide neonicotinoid, for one thing, and it’s routinely used on plants for sale and earlier in the plants’ lives, at the wholesale growers’.  That discovery has led to an anti-neonic campaign targeting the boxes in particular, leading to headlines like “Bee  Activists Swarm Home Depot and...

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Posted by on June 9, 2014 at 7:06 am   This post has 26 responses.
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