Aster, switchgrass, and dahlia flourish in compacted clay under a dying sourwood.

Laissez-faire Garden Design: A Long Conversation with Nature

My style of gardening proceeds like an ongoing conversation between gardener and Nature. Here is how that conversation might go when choosing plants for a new garden. If the gardener has enough experience to realize how important listening is to this conversation, the first step will be taking time to learn the site. Notice things […]

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on October 15, 2014 at 5:03 am   This post has 9 responses.

Hail the anti-mums

Actually, I do have two gigantic pots of mums that were purchased from a work colleague’s kid (to fund a soccer team or something). At only $8 each, they are way huge for their tiny pots—indeed scarily so. (I have to think they’re overfertilized.) Nonetheless, I brought them home...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 13, 2014 at 7:42 am   This post has 17 responses.

Sins of My Lawn: Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu

  I confess: I keep a lawn. Call me heathen. I know lawns are environmentally suspect, but mine doesn’t ask for much. I’ve applied nothing from the periodic table that screams Skull and Crossbones. And I won’t plow this spit of land for the sake of butterfly weeds or...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 8, 2014 at 7:21 am   This post has 17 responses.

Urban prairie envy

I’m not the owner of this house, nor am I the designer of the pictured front yard, but I do admire  the knowledge,  commitment and creativity of whoever made this garden. I came across this house on a random trip around town while driving down a street that I...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Guest Rants, Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 6, 2014 at 7:48 am   This post has 40 responses.

Meeting Animals

You may not be surprised to hear that, though I adore plants, I garden primarily for animals and the life they bring to a place. Growing up, I was taught by my mother to treat animals gently and respectfully, whether they are pets or wild creatures. Mom and I...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 3, 2014 at 1:11 am   This post has 4 responses.

Foliage watch

Leaf tourists had better get moving. My unscientific observations, based on a weekend trip south of Buffalo, indicate that peak—at least around here—seems days, rather than weeks away. We were surrounded by red and gold during the drive down and back from Ellicottville, New York, which is ski central...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on September 29, 2014 at 8:24 am   This post has 3 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...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm   This post has 8 responses.

Potfuls of Coleus

Like Ivette, I ignore the ubiquitous Thriller-Filler-Spiller advice for container plantings – because the more species in a single pot, the harder it is to keep the thing looking good. Ditto getting it to look good in the first place. For me, containers look best simplified, like the 3...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 9:09 am   This post has 2 responses.

I’m the Thriller Filler Spiller Killer!

I hate rules. I mean really, I do. I always have. My brain won’t accept them. If someone tells me that THIS is the way to do a thing, I will try and find another way to do it. It may come from my years as an actor, and...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on September 24, 2014 at 2:17 am   This post has 51 responses.

A fall manifesto: enjoy the mess

Twice a year, at the beginning and end of the growing season, gardeners are exhorted to do various tasks that will—in spring—prepare the garden for the plantings to come, and—in fall—shut down the garden to protect it from the depredations of winter. Some of these jobs are necessary, but...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on September 22, 2014 at 8:07 am   This post has 12 responses.

Give me spots on my apples and holes in my sweet potato vine

Remember the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot? Every organic gardener’s favorite line is surely “Give me spots on my apples. But leave me the birds and the bees. Please!” So, when people notice the insect holes in the sweet potato vine...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on September 19, 2014 at 8:55 am   This post has 6 responses.

Death Enhances a Garden

Death plays a significant role in my garden, and in so many ways, it makes the garden more interesting. Death provides comfort. I don’t routinely snip or snap off dead flower heads, not even the large dahlia blooms that stand on their stems brown and bedraggled for weeks. I...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy, Real Gardens
Posted by on September 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm   This post has 18 responses.

A hard act to follow

But at least he agrees with me on one of my most cherished gardening principles. I was privileged to be on the same bill with David Culp at Rochester’s Gathering of Gardeners on Saturday, and I can assure you that I was as entranced as the rest of the...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Real Gardens, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on September 15, 2014 at 8:38 am   This post has 3 responses.

Late-Summer Scenes from DC

At the National Arboretum in late August: Joe-Pye Weed and Crapemyrtle blooming in the Gotelli Dwarf Conifer Collection. Behind a wildflower meadow, the Capitol Columns.  They once held up the U.S. Capitol. Around the Friendship House, plant and design ideas for residential gardens. In the National Gallery’s Scultpure Garden...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on September 13, 2014 at 10:16 am   This post has Comments Off.

B&B Garden Attracts Customers

At least the tiny garden in front of the Royal Rose Inn in Rehoboth Beach, DE got this potential customer’s attention when I walked by it this week, and you better believe I’ll be staying there the next time I visit.  The garden said to me:  ”Fun place to stay!”...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on September 5, 2014 at 9:36 am   This post has 3 responses.

The Parklet Craze

This year’s international Park(ing) Day falls on September 19, a mere two weeks from now. On that day, individuals, groups, and businesses in cities around the world will commandeer on-street parking spaces and convert them to temporary parklets. These people-friendly spaces might include plants, seating, bike parking, games, exercise...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: But is it Art?, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on September 3, 2014 at 3:08 am   This post has 3 responses.

Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, Late August

I spent a sublime morning this week at the Blackwater  National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, in the beautiful State of Maryland. Outside the Visitor’s Center, a wildlife garden that includes Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis), The very-familiar Rudbeckia with the less common Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana). One...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Grab Bag
Posted by on August 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm   This post has 4 responses.

Sensational

It’s a fact that botanical gardens have to keep on their toes to attract visitors throughout the year. Just as with art museums, a great collection is not enough.  In addition to the traditional special events, like orchid, mum, spring flower, coleus, and poinsettia shows, there must be model...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on August 25, 2014 at 8:49 am   This post has 8 responses.

Courtyard Garden: One Year Later

It’s time for an update on my courtyard garden. The thrill of saying that hasn’t dimmed after a year, and I imagine I will still be delighted about it if I am lucky enough to have a courtyard garden decades from now. First, a quick before-and-after pairing to show...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on August 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm   This post has 11 responses.

Riverscaping

While on a brief getaway in the northern Catskills, we saw plenty of natural beauty, including late summer wildflowers (rudbeckia, asters, eupatorium, and more) along the trails. We also saw some lovely manmade landscaping that took full advantage of its context. Along route 28, just past Phoenicia, you’ll pass...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Real Gardens
Posted by on August 18, 2014 at 9:20 am   This post has 6 responses.
  • Follow Garden Rant

    Follow Me on Pinterest RSS