public garden Fez

Turn off the tap for a better garden

I spent the last two weeks in Morocco; as travel is supposed to do, this provided me with a new perspective. Morocco is a semi-arid to arid country. In Fez, where I spent the most time, the wettest month is February, with an average of just 2.8 inches of rain, while the whole of summer […]

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on March 20, 2017 at 11:54 am   This post has no responses.

Movie Theater with a Garden Connection

This is my local movie theater – the Old Greenbelt. It opened in 1937 and has avoided being divided up or worse, turned into condos, because it’s owned by the city and operated as a nonprofit. It’s in the heart of town, a few blocks from my house. The...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on March 17, 2017 at 9:17 am   This post has no responses.

Saved by The Marx Brothers and Oak Trees

I am not shy about telling friends who voted for Donald Trump that I think the president is a clown. Many of them agree Trump is a clown, too, but they argue that he’s a better clown than the clown I voted for. We try to be civil with...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Science Says, What's Happening
Posted by on March 15, 2017 at 7:35 am   This post has 10 responses.

From Light Shows to Mangroves

Rose and I returned home from Sanibel, Florida, a few weeks ago. I couldn’t stir up a bingo game there but found plenty of other subtropical diversions for old people. I was homesick the whole time but the beach was good to us. Glimpses of spring arrived in Kentucky...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Science Says, What's Happening
Posted by on March 8, 2017 at 6:57 am   This post has 8 responses.

Challenging Our Assumptions

To be the best gardeners we can be we need to challenge our own assumptions from time to time. Recently, I have been doing just that by reading Emma Marris’ book Rambunctious Garden – Saving Nature in a Post Wild World. In this book, Marris questions the practicality and...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on March 6, 2017 at 7:53 am   This post has 18 responses.

Finally, they’re coming for the leaf blowers

At least in California. According to an NPR report I heard yesterday (2/28), these will be the biggest ozone polluters in that state—pulling ahead of cars—within three years. Most Rant readers know how much we (at least Susan and I and probably our partners as well) hate these evil...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on March 1, 2017 at 8:00 am   This post has 7 responses.

Gardening with a purpose

This phrase appears in many recent industry trend reports, but I don’t quite remember what they mean by it. Here’s what I mean by it. For years now, it’s been abundantly clear that the country (and planet) we all garden on is threatened with wide-ranging environmental peril. We all...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on February 21, 2017 at 9:34 am   This post has 9 responses.

A New Take on Invasive Plants

I’ve been reading an important book. It’s not new – it was published in 2010 – but it is even more relevant today than when it was fresh off the press. It is Peter Del Tredici’s Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast. Conceived of as a field guide to...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Science Says
Posted by on February 20, 2017 at 10:25 am   This post has 14 responses.

Trees are Worth more Dead than Alive (to Wildlife)

Walking around the lake near my house I’ve noticed the preponderance of snags – dead trees left standing, most of them without their tops. Here’s one along the path. Knowing they’re important for wildlife, I was happy to see so many, but it took a bit of googling to...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on February 17, 2017 at 10:13 am   This post has 15 responses.

Sweet Land of Liberty, from Salvisa to Sanibel

  Two weeks ago, while stuck at winter’s ugly intersection of “alternative facts” and grays skies, I sat patiently and watched the red light flash green. It dried out, and the sun shone for a day. “I think I can, I think I can,” I began muttering. In a...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Science Says, What's Happening
Posted by on February 15, 2017 at 7:46 am   This post has 8 responses.

Designer Puts Tallamy’s Advice into Practice

New England-area garden designer Matthew Cunningham will be speaking in Silver Spring, Maryland for the local chapter of APLD on Saturday February 11 from 10 to noon. His topic: “Stone, Wood, & Metal in Landscape Design.” (Reserve a spot here.) To bring attention to his talk, we were offered...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on February 3, 2017 at 8:39 am   This post has 10 responses.

Nothing to be SAD about?

This holiday season, I’m searching for any good news, and this might qualify. Or at least it might save people some money. According to studies conducted by the Journal of Clinical Psychology and the Centers for Disease Control and Production, the condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Science Says
Posted by on December 22, 2016 at 9:02 am   This post has 4 responses.

Disaster in the Smokies

A national park since 1926, the Great Smokies at times seem overshadowed by the spectacular parks of the west: Zion, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone. In fact, a list I saw of the best national parks only includes one park in the eastern US: Acadia. I visited this park a...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on December 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm   This post has 5 responses.

My Tiny Oak Forest

  The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. –Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m not giving into global warming or to Donald Trump. I’m planting acorns. I won’t live to see my oaks grow into a thick forest canopy, but time’s a wasting. Regardless of the president-elect’s head-in-the-sand...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on November 16, 2016 at 7:20 am   This post has 9 responses.

The bad leaf advice—it’s baaack!

It’s that time of year again—gardeners are getting silly advice from the Wildlife Federation and other nature-centric organizations about why they should try to leave their leaves in place to provide wildlife habitat and “natural mulch.” Many gardening columnists and Facebookers are picking up the NWF’s 2014 “Leave the...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on November 15, 2016 at 9:50 am   This post has 13 responses.

Why I can’t get too excited about the White House vegetable garden

Of course, it’s very good that the White House and the National Park Foundation have decided to maintain a food patch on the property. And let’s be clear on one thing right away: I am a big fan of both Obamas and would be happy to see them stay...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on October 13, 2016 at 9:13 am   This post has 7 responses.

Common Gardening Practices That Hurt Bees

Worldwide, there’s a growing awareness of the value of pollinators, which is heartening for those of us who love food and biological diversity. However, pollinator populations continue their noticeable decline, and recently several bee species have been listed or proposed as federal endangered species. Individual gardeners and property owners...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on October 5, 2016 at 4:16 pm   This post has 6 responses.

How I Became a Landscape Reformer

Today’s Guest Rant comes from Leslie Nelson Inman, an Adjunct English Instructor at Mercer University and Georgia Tech who is currently taking some time off to write a book. Leslie educated herself about environmental issues and has become passionate about spreading information and solutions widely via social media. Here’s...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants, Lawn Reform
Posted by Leslie Nelson Inman on September 21, 2016 at 6:41 am   This post has 24 responses.

Oh, how sweet—they’re getting married!

  In case you hadn’t heard, two of the biggest Big Ag and Big Chem firms—St. Louis-based Monsanto and Germany’s Bayer (pronounced buyer)—are merging, with Bayer making the acquisition. It’s gigantic news for farmers, but these companies are big players at garden centers as well. Here’s the PR for...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Eat This, Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on September 15, 2016 at 8:28 am   This post has 5 responses.

Benefits of Drought

It’s official: the “U.S. Drought Monitor”, a site co-sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lists southwestern Massachusetts, where I do most of my gardening, as locked in a severe drought. The withered crops in my vegetable garden...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on August 15, 2016 at 10:43 am   This post has 17 responses.