The Quackery of Jerry Baker 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 myself started attacking Baker’s advice on […]

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 at 7:19 am   This post has no 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 14 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.

Rant from the road: resort horticulture

Vacations are always busmens’ holidays for gardeners. Whether it’s a tropical paradise, a stateside resort, or a European capital, gardeners can’t help but notice what’s planted, where it’s planted, and how well it’s designed. We don’t actually work on the gardens where we stay, but we’re doing it in...

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Posted by on August 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm   This post has one response.

Corner Makeover: Before and One Year Later

Readers may have noticed I’m an obsessive-compulsive garden-maker, not happy with making and tending just the townhouse garden I now own.  I showed you one example recently – the town center garden I adopted in May of this year. Boy, did it need some love. Next up, another highly visible bit...

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Posted by on August 11, 2017 at 8:58 am   This post has 9 responses.

An annual philosophy

Certain plants exude a message of “Don’t worry, be happy.” Others continually whine, “Maintain me!” In my garden, the easiest plants I grow are the tropical or semitropicals. They require virtually nothing, much like their brethren in my office. Once in a while, I’ll cut down a dead leaf...

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Posted by on August 10, 2017 at 9:40 am   This post has 14 responses.

Perennially Yours: Steve Still

Garden Rant contributor Bob Hill came to my 60th surprise birthday party some years ago. After a few glasses of wine, he said, “Look around. All of these friends will be at your funeral.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or pray. I have thought about Bob’s prophetic words...

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Posted by on August 9, 2017 at 7:23 am   This post has 10 responses.

Sunflowers Rivaling Cherry Blossoms as Top Plant Attraction

Here’s why I’m going out on a cherry blossom limb to assert that the humble sunflower is gaining on DC’s most overhyped flowers. Just outside DC, Maryland’s McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area is just now seeing its sunflower fields cleared of photographers from near and far. There’s a special Guide for Photographing...

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Posted by on August 4, 2017 at 10:07 am   This post has 3 responses.

When it comes to gardening coverage, think locally!

I can’t remember a time when the Houston Chronicle wasn’t a part of my life.  My parents were faithful subscribers, just as my husband and I have been since we married in 1983.  I was fortunate enough to be a contract employee for a while, working with garden editor...

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Posted by Cindy McMorris Tournier on August 1, 2017 at 9:07 am   This post has 14 responses.

17 New Plants, One Aging Gardener

So having just returned from a favorite nursery with 17 new plants I didn’t really need – but couldn’t live without – my mind leans toward the phenomenon of impulse buying, if not Zen and The Art of Horticultural Maintenance. Precisely what is it that triggers the mind to...

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Posted by on July 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm   This post has 4 responses.

The quick and dirty tricks of the yearly show gardener

Keep in mind that I’m not talking about gardens that are regularly visited by the public, via bus tours, Open Days, and appointments. Those are the real show gardens, and they don’t need to resort to subterfuge because they are maintained by dedicated owners (and sometimes staff) and they...

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Posted by on July 25, 2017 at 10:00 am   This post has 7 responses.

Garden Update Five Years On

Since ripping out the turfgrass in my new townhouse garden in 2012, I’m still waiting for the turfless garden to look DONE, like Evelyn Hadden’s new garden seems to have done in barely a season. Here you see the front garden in late May, after the azaleas were done....

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Posted by on July 21, 2017 at 5:27 am   This post has 10 responses.

Buffalo’s first green roof, ten years later

Buffalo is not landscape architecture central. Aside from a large Olmsted park system (that’s been adulterated in spots), I find many WNY public landscapes uninspired. Private gardens are the thing here; almost 500 of them will be open to the public next week. However, I do have a favorite...

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Posted by on July 20, 2017 at 11:14 am   This post has Comments Off on Buffalo’s first green roof, ten years later.

What is “cute”?

The other day, a visiting friend gasped when he saw a rat run across a corner of the suburban Connecticut yard where I garden during the week.  I shuddered when he told me.  I could guess what had drawn the creature:  we have a henhouse full of geriatric chickens...

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Posted by on July 17, 2017 at 10:43 am   This post has 6 responses.

The Success of Mississippi State’s “Southern Gardening”

These days I follow dozens of gardening channels on Youtube, especially those of Extension universities, where there are hundreds of good veg-growing videos are to be found. Except for the topic of turfgrass, videos about ornamentals are a lot less common. So naturally I noticed this guy – Gary...

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Posted by on July 14, 2017 at 10:00 am   This post has Comments Off on The Success of Mississippi State’s “Southern Gardening”.

The Garden and Nursery Boat

I stared out my elementary school window for years, bored out of my skull, determined to forsake fractions for adventure. The Ohio River, my escape route, was a few miles away. My curiosity for the river life was inspired by Huckleberry Finn and amplified years later by Harlan Hubbard’s...

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Posted by on July 12, 2017 at 8:13 am   This post has 6 responses.

Garden Bloggers take DC (area)

First, it must be stressed that I am not a good tour taker. I love looking at gardens, but I can enjoy a smaller garden pretty quickly, and then I’m done. I’m better in big public gardens, where you can keep moving and there’s always something different around the...

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Posted by on July 11, 2017 at 10:28 am   This post has 3 responses.