If nature bats last, which inning is it?

The assault on wild places continues. As I wrote about here, two national monuments, both in Utah, are much closer to being (drastically) reduced in size: Bears’ Ears by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by half. What’s next? I would guess plenty; we’ve already heard that drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is part of […]

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Posted by on December 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm   This post has 5 responses.

Insights from Germany

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a lecture sponsored by the New York Botanical Garden, and it was eye-opening. The speaker was Cassian Schmidt, who since 1998 has been director of Hermannshof, a combination botanical and trial garden situated on six acres of in...

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Posted by on December 4, 2017 at 8:13 am   This post has 9 responses.

Goodbye, and thanks for your service

Trees are suffering. First, there are the pests; among the most current are the emerald ash borer, the mountain pine beetle, and the wooly aldegid. Then there are the ravages of fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters; it was awful to see the defoliation in the Caribbean earlier this...

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm   This post has 8 responses.

A Glimpse of a Lunatic’s Garden

I don’t know anyone on this planet, or galaxy, with more runaway enthusiasm for gardening than Jamie Dockery. And that’s not all. Besides his rabid determination to grow anything with chlorophyll, Jamie also raises little cows, little goats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, and tends an aviary with finches and canaries—all...

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Posted by on November 8, 2017 at 7:58 am   This post has 16 responses.

Our annual long-range forecast rant

And this time, it’s from a guest ranter, artist/writer Bruce Adams. Though his rant is region-specific, this could apply anywhere. The science of weather forecasting has grown in sophistication over the years. Various forecasters now predict general weather conditions for whole seasons. And the good news is, there’s a...

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Posted by Bruce Adams on November 7, 2017 at 11:17 am   This post has 2 responses.

Erasing nature

“acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow.” These are the words that have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. “attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player...

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Posted by on October 17, 2017 at 10:40 am   This post has 16 responses.

The Case Against Earthworms

When I dug in my Berkshire garden this summer I found a host of earthworms.  That, it turns out, is bad. I was raised to regard earthworms as the gardener’s best friend.  It’s true, these benevolent creatures (or so I regarded them then) aerate the soil with their tunnels...

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Posted by on October 16, 2017 at 11:12 am   This post has 8 responses.

A Few Timely Points About Growing Trees

I’ve finally gotten around to reading a book called The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. My wife gave it to me as a birthday present a few years ago, hoping it would better inform my drinking. But in a move reminiscent of Jeff Bridge’s version of Rooster Cogburn, I bellowed...

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Posted by Scott Beuerlein on October 4, 2017 at 8:03 am   This post has 6 responses.

Solidago solidarity

A recent post from my good friend, gardener and blogger, Gail Eichelberger, poses the question, “What’s wrong with goldenrod?” She then swiftly answers, “Nothing!” I couldn’t agree more. Here is one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, late season plants. I rejoice when it spreads to cover entire...

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Posted by on September 28, 2017 at 11:18 am   This post has 6 responses.

From green to brown in the Caribbean

If you want to get a dramatic sense of hurricane Irma’s worst devastation, visit this site, which offers before/after satellite images of the Caribbean islands that were in her path. It’s not just the debris, flattened infrastructure, and—most terrible—deaths. These islands seem to have lost the lush green landscapes...

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Posted by on September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am   This post has one response.

The botany behind the fantasy

It’s a good (and rare) morning when my twelve-minute commute yields two news stories in a row that make me smile. That happened today. The first one has no gardening relevance, but the second has special interest for both gardeners and Tolkien fans. Botanist Walter Judd has published a...

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Posted by on August 31, 2017 at 9:17 am   This post has 2 responses.

So Beekeepers, You Want to Save the World?

Guest Rant by Helen Yoest I was only six years old when Rachel Carson changed my world. And by all standards, Ms. Carson influenced a generation with her book, Silent Spring. That was some powerful stuff. Since that time, so many of us are engaged in saving everything from birds...

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Posted by Helen Yoest on July 18, 2017 at 10:40 am   This post has 20 responses.

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...

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Posted by on June 23, 2017 at 6:50 am   This post has 5 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...

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Posted by on June 5, 2017 at 11:46 am   This post has 8 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...

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Posted by on May 9, 2017 at 8:51 am   This post has Comments Off on When trees come in handy.

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...

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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...

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Posted by on April 21, 2017 at 8:05 am   This post has 45 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...

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Posted by on April 4, 2017 at 10:05 am   This post has 4 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...

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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...

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 at 9:11 am   This post has 10 responses.