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 […]

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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...

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Posted by on March 17, 2017 at 9:17 am   This post has no 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Posted by on February 17, 2017 at 10:13 am   This post has 15 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...

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Posted by on February 3, 2017 at 8:39 am   This post has 10 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...

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Posted by on December 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm   This post has 5 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Posted by on August 15, 2016 at 10:43 am   This post has 17 responses.

Bug Hunting

A couple of weeks ago I attended a fascinating lecture by Dr. Daniel Duran of Drexel University. He was making the case for gardeners to take a more positive attitude toward the insects in their gardens.   He emphasized that a very small percentage (less than 3 percent, on average)...

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Posted by on August 1, 2016 at 3:58 pm   This post has 12 responses.

When you’re at the beach, but it’s still your day to post …

… you discuss sand castle landscaping. Here is a fine example that probably looked even better before it got a night’s worth of rain. Note the minimal yet effective use of beach grasses and other plants to lightly adorn the structure. It reminds me that the grasses are themselves...

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Posted by on July 12, 2016 at 1:42 pm   This post has 4 responses.

What’s Native?

What better day than July 4th – our national independence day — to consider the issues surrounding gardening with natives versus gardening with plants of foreign origin? (For the record, I grow both.) And what, for that matter, is a truly native plant? Typically, we define “native” in terms...

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Posted by on July 4, 2016 at 10:31 am   This post has 4 responses.

New Guide to the Garden Revolution, by Weaner and Christopher

It’s finally here – the much-awaited Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change by Larry Weaner and GardenRant’s own Thomas Christopher. It’s described as the next step along the path started by Sara Stein and Douglas Tallamy, guiding us in the move from traditional horticulture...

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Posted by on May 20, 2016 at 9:18 am   This post has 8 responses.

Tallamania!

Ranters have been talking to scientist Doug Tallamy, professor and chair of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware, since 2007. So, since this is Throwback Thursday, I’d thought I’d include some of our earlier discussions with the professor, as well as a recent...

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Posted by on May 19, 2016 at 7:50 am   This post has 2 responses.