Video: Best-Performing Native Plants in my Garden

These days we’re all paying more attention to beneficial wildlife in our gardens, and to that end, looking for good native plants to grow. But which ones? Those official lists of state or regional natives don’t really help the aspiring eco-gardener make their choices. So many of the listed plants aren’t even in the trade! […]

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Posted by on November 17, 2017 at 8:26 am   This post has 2 responses.

It’s a Mast Year

Ever heard of a “mast year?” I hadn’t until we moved to our cottage on the Eastern Shore. That was June.  In early September, it started. Artillery fire. Lying in bed in our loft, with no attic to buffer us, it was like the London blitz—except with acorns. The...

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Posted by Sandra Gaffigan on November 14, 2017 at 9:37 am   This post has 5 responses.

Can these Junipers be Saved?

My latest gardening obsession is making over the landscape in front of my housing co-op offices, where the top priority is to do something about the overgrown junipers. Planted too close to the sidewalk and doors, they’d been sheared back, which caused much unsightly needle-browning. The problem wasn’t just...

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Posted by on November 10, 2017 at 8:20 am   This post has 11 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 15 responses.

Still crazy after fourteen years

Pre-blog, my garden practice gets lost in the fog of history. I know I started gardening seriously in 1999, when we bought property, but I am not quite sure exactly what I was doing month by month until 2005, when I started documenting it with a blog. And that’s...

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Posted by on October 31, 2017 at 10:22 am   This post has 3 responses.

A Back Porch Recipe for Peace

Gardening offers me an outside recipe for inner peace, or at least the opportunity to go hide on our screened-in back porch and ponder the meaning of life, mortality and the furrowed bark and brilliant fall colors of our three-flowered maple. I look out, and the pink and white...

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Posted by on October 30, 2017 at 8:15 am   This post has 9 responses.

There’s fall color—and fall color

Every day on my way to work, I always look at a certain house, just before I make my final turn. It is the one vibrant spot of color on a block, which, though perfectly nice, is typified by sedate, small front lawns and a few foundation plantings. But...

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Posted by on October 26, 2017 at 10:02 am   This post has 5 responses.

Discovering Sally Fox, Legendary Cotton Breeder

At my town’s film festival last weekend I met a filmmaker just out of USC film school whose masters project had been accepted by (and then won an award from) the festival. The short film – True Colors by Bethann Morgan – is the scripted true story of Sally...

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Posted by on October 20, 2017 at 9:44 am   This post has 3 responses.

Landscape Architect Wins MacArthur Genius Award

Nice news this week via Brad McKee, editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine, who writes: Kate Orff, ASLA, became the first landscape architect to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, which carries a $625,000 award over five years for “originality, insight, and potential.” Orff was among 24 fellows named by the foundation today, who also included...

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Posted by on October 13, 2017 at 8:18 am   This post has 2 responses.

Closing edicts

Lessons learned from the 2017 gardening season (so far): Never again: Morning glory (convolvulus): The central mission of this (gorgeous) blue cultivar seemed to be to envelope every plant within its reach, while making sure to release as few flowers as possible in the process. The blooms, when they...

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Posted by on October 10, 2017 at 11:23 am   This post has 15 responses.

The Gardens (and More) of Asbury Park, NJ

When I go to the beach it’s in the spring or fall, and even in glorious weather like we’re enjoying this week, I don’t really lie on the beach. As a plantaholic, I gravitate toward nearby gardens and plant-filled natural areas instead. There the blogger in me takes over,...

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 at 7:40 am   This post has Comments Off on The Gardens (and More) of Asbury Park, NJ.

I Found my Bird Feeder Bliss

For decades in a former garden, my bird-watching consisted of standing on my deck and pointing the trusty binocs at the bird houses in the wooded valley below. I can’t you what birds actually filled them – I’m that bad at bird recognition – but anyway, my favorites were...

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Posted by on September 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm   This post has 10 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.

The Clarion Call of Brugmansia

October is peeking its nose up over the horizon now, shortening the days, painting the landscape, dredging up reluctant thoughts of the leaf blower and raggedy sweaters. And yet it’s been 90 degrees here in Southern Indiana, even as the rest of the world deals with snow, torrential rains,...

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Posted by on September 25, 2017 at 10:46 am   This post has 6 responses.

Jerry Baker’s Quackery Lives On

Jerry Baker, the self-styled “America’s Master Gardener” and highly successful huckster for home-remedy books and products died in March of this year at the age of 85. I was curious to see how the gardening world would note his passing, especially those who attacked his teachings, some repeatedly. I...

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 at 7:19 am   This post has 5 responses.

In Praise of a Plant That Needs Your Love

  Diarrhena americana. The Latin name doesn’t inspire lustful desire does it? What a pity. It’s better than its name. I remember the moment I first came across this native grass. I had no idea what its name was when I was introduced. But Rick Lewandowski knew the name...

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Posted by on September 13, 2017 at 8:14 am   This post has 15 responses.

Milllennials love houseplants? Yay!

And it’s interesting, because I’m learning this just as I’ve begun to feel kind of blasé about my houseplants. I still have plenty, but I maintain them without as much interest as I used to—I get much more excited about my indoor bulb forcing projects, which fill the house...

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Posted by on September 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm   This post has 5 responses.

Robert Frost Needed Better Neighbors

So maybe it was Robert Frost. That whole “Mending Wall’ thing: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. I read that poem 1,000 times as a...

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Posted by on September 1, 2017 at 4:51 am   This post has 6 responses.

Monty Don’s 80 Plant Cultures of the World

Monty Don has been getting an unusual amount of attention lately in the U.S., thanks to his provocative article “There’s no point trying to convince millennials to garden. Nobody wants to hear that but I suspect he’s right. So who IS this guy? Here’s a quick bio on BBC...

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Posted by on August 23, 2017 at 3:41 pm   This post has 7 responses.

Hands off the hydrangeas

Thanks to plentiful rain and other friendly conditions, this is the summer of the Hydrangea in the Northeast, at least as far as I’ve observed. Huge stands of paniculata, macrophylla, and arborescens varieties are blooming profusely. My neighbor’s pink macrophylla blooms are easily a foot in circumference; it’s amazing...

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Posted by on August 22, 2017 at 8:58 am   This post has 5 responses.