He's holding a daisy, his maker cobbled him together from all these unnatural things - and nobody can predict when he's going to lose it and create much badness!

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 to my mind that is really […]

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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.

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.

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.

Killer GARDENS

    I have a few thousand new pets. A couple of weeks ago, two lovely girls dressed head to toe in fresh white jumpsuits with large brimmed hats swathed in clouds of netting came over to my garden and bestowed upon me two boxes of feisty, buzzing, glorious...

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Posted by on May 28, 2014 at 9:06 am   This post has 75 responses.

Contrasting Front Yards: Turf Only v. Wildlife-Filled

I love this video by Beltsville, MD wildlife gardener Marcia Van Horn.  (Viewable on desk and laptops, but not on mobile devices.)  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...

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Posted by on April 24, 2014 at 7:47 am   This post has 5 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.

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...

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Read related articles 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.

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...

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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...

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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,...

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Posted by on November 8, 2013 at 7:57 am   This post has 16 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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 at 5:27 am   This post has 18 responses.
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