These salvia came in inexpensive 4-packs from a benefit sale.

A trendy wish list for 2017

Not having even looked at any of the usual predictions or surveys regarding general gardening behavior, here is my wishful thinking for the coming year: More six-packs, fewer pricy branded pots I am lucky enough to be able to order interesting new cultivars from the yearly sale our botanical gardens has—and they actually come in […]

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Read related articles in: Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on January 17, 2017 at 9:34 am   This post has 7 responses.

Butterfly weed—why not

Many of you have heard that 2017’s “Perennial Plant of the Year” is Asclepias tuberosa/butterfly weed. It’s not a surprising choice—attention to attracting and supporting pollinators, especially butterflies, especially monarchs, has been peaking for the past few years and shows no sign of declining. A good thing. Normally, I...

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Posted by on January 11, 2017 at 9:51 am   This post has 9 responses.

Robinson Crusoe’s Ten Favorite Perennials

  It’s the dead of winter, and you might be wishing you were stranded—with amenities—on a desert island with Robinson Crusoe. But Robinson Crusoe is not on a desert island. He is stuck in Kentucky. Crusoe is not afraid of cannibals or mutineers, but he is tired of scraping...

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 at 8:10 am   This post has 7 responses.

Bark for the Winter Blues

Guest Post by Bob Hill Somewhere between the January Blahs and a typically mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder – the aptly acronymed SAD – I find comfort in wandering our yard in mid-winter marveling at the upbeat, happy bark offered by our collection of maple trees, especially our...

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Posted by Bob Hill on January 6, 2017 at 7:10 am   This post has one response.

The myth of the plant killer

May 2017 be the year that nobody insists to me that they have a “black thumb.” Except that I know it won’t happen. I was at a small New Year’s Eve party when one of my non-gardening friends asked for advice about an aspidistra (cast iron plant) she’d just...

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Posted by on January 4, 2017 at 9:00 am   This post has 13 responses.

Goals for a New Year

I have eschewed New Year’s resolutions this year – I typically set myself impossible goals such as moderating my seed purchases and then feel doubly badly about the ensuing order-orgy. But I do have some goals for 2017. I’m going to cap the cost of my seed expenditures by...

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 at 8:08 am   This post has 4 responses.

The Landscapes of McMansion Hell

For making me laugh while I learn, I LOVE the architecture critic Kate Wagner and her highly opinionated blog McMansion Hell. Who could resist her “Pringles Can of Shame ™” award in the photo above? So I recommend McMansion Hell for making me laugh and for educating me with “What the...

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Posted by on December 30, 2016 at 7:56 am   This post has 22 responses.

At the closing of the year

In our region, the end of the year corresponds rather neatly with the end of the gardening season. Yesterday (Boxing Day), I was texting with a friend who was taking advantage of the freakishly balmy temps to finally getting some bulbs planted I had given him. He wanted to...

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Posted by on December 27, 2016 at 10:37 am   This post has 6 responses.

Garden Flags and Bird Feeders: Failures and Fixes

I’ve complained before about the hassle of bird feeders in my tiny townhouse garden, where the shit-stained baffle isn’t doing the job of keeping squirrels away as these world-class gymnasts simply vault from anything nearby to the feeder. I then complained that hummingbird feeders are too much of a commitment for...

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Posted by on December 23, 2016 at 7:14 am   This post has 11 responses.

A Better Way With Weeds

I have a love/hate relationship with weeds. Perhaps love is too strong a term, but I do greatly admire the persistence of weeds and the role they play in preserving disturbed soils. Indeed, a number of years ago, I wrote an article for The New York Times Sunday Magazine...

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Posted by on December 20, 2016 at 8:57 am   This post has 2 responses.

How to Recommend Plants with Video

Searching the Internet for good gardening videos for over a year now, I’ve come to lament their dearth in one major category – ornamental plants. Thanks to Extension universities and a few media-savvy experts, there’s plenty of help for new veg-growing gardeners, but if you want to beautify your...

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Posted by on December 16, 2016 at 8:36 am   This post has 7 responses.

Embracing the ephemeral

During the Western New York growing season, my focus is (mostly) on keeping plants alive and viable for seasons to come. I weed, prune, and nourish perennials and shrubs that I hope will become stalwart landscape features. The idea is to create garden areas that won’t need replacing every...

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Posted by on December 12, 2016 at 9:18 am   This post has 2 responses.

Get your Holiday-Decorating Videos Right Here

My numero uno project these days is reviewing and collecting good gardening videos, as I might have mentioned here a few times (ahem). And to be on-trend (oh, always!), we’ve gone looking for some that demonstrate how to make holiday decorations out of (mainly) plants, and found these 14. If you’re...

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Posted by on December 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm   This post has Comments Off on Get your Holiday-Decorating Videos Right Here.

Ask a Designer: Deer-Proof Perennials

Next up in our “Ask a Designer” series is designer Claire Jones  in Maryland. How many times do you visit a garden center and get overwhelmed with the many choices that entice with gorgeous foliage and blooms? And you impulse buy the “flavor of the month” perennial that the garden center...

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Posted by Claire Jones on December 8, 2016 at 8:54 am   This post has 2 responses.

A Belated Goodbye

One of the basic rules of gardens is that if you leave, you don’t return. In this respect, I have found, involvement with a garden is like a love affair.   A crucial part of making a success of the experience is having the clarity to know when it is...

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Posted by on December 5, 2016 at 9:35 am   This post has 5 responses.

Red-Free Holiday Decorations!

Same-old holiday decorations, dominated by your basic Crayola red, give me the bah-humbugs faster than “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on repeat play. So the holiday display that opened yesterday at the U.S. Botanic Garden is a relief and a respite for this perennial Scrooge because red seems to have been...

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Posted by on November 25, 2016 at 8:47 am   This post has 4 responses.

Sex Talk at the US Botanic Garden

I returned last week to the U.S. Botanic Garden for another lesson in plant morphology, but this one was a bit sexier than the foliage talk I posted about here. This time, Dr. Susan Pell talked flowers and her audience quickly caught on that this talk would be R-rated. Early one...

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Posted by on November 18, 2016 at 8:05 am   This post has 5 responses.

#TBT: Top ten houseplants, according to me

It’s houseplant time, at least in the northerly zones. So it seems like a good time to repeat this post from November 2008. I think I pretty much agree with this list, except maybe the sansevieria and the spathiphyllum, both of which I’ve gotten sick of. And I think...

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Posted by on November 17, 2016 at 9:32 am   This post has 6 responses.

My Tiny Oak Forest

  The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. –Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m not giving into global warming or to Donald Trump. I’m planting acorns. I won’t live to see my oaks grow into a thick forest canopy, but time’s a wasting. Regardless of the president-elect’s head-in-the-sand...

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Posted by on November 16, 2016 at 7:20 am   This post has 9 responses.

The bad leaf advice—it’s baaack!

It’s that time of year again—gardeners are getting silly advice from the Wildlife Federation and other nature-centric organizations about why they should try to leave their leaves in place to provide wildlife habitat and “natural mulch.” Many gardening columnists and Facebookers are picking up the NWF’s 2014 “Leave the...

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Posted by on November 15, 2016 at 9:50 am   This post has 13 responses.
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