Backyard Labyrinths Trending?

Labyrinths are on the rise, especially at schools and churches, but ones in home gardens like this will never catch on, I predict. That’s because it needs weekly careful mowing, plus frequent pre-edging, so it’s definitely a high-maintenance item. And there’s the expense, too – this one cost $13,000! (Including regrading.) So I’m disagreeing with […]

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on May 12, 2017 at 9:16 am   This post has 2 responses.

Designer Puts Tallamy’s Advice into Practice

New England-area garden designer Matthew Cunningham will be speaking in Silver Spring, Maryland for the local chapter of APLD on Saturday February 11 from 10 to noon. His topic: “Stone, Wood, & Metal in Landscape Design.” (Reserve a spot here.) To bring attention to his talk, we were offered...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on March 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm   This post has Comments Off on Designer Puts Tallamy’s Advice into Practice.

The Payoff

For wildlife gardeners — including those who want to support pollinators — certain plants promise a bigger payoff. Shrubs are one category of plant that often deliver more rewards for less effort. They are larger than a perennial and can produce many more blooms per plant. Since they are...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 16, 2016 at 2:31 am   This post has 4 responses.

Garden Flags with Shibori and Permanent Dye

The last time I posted about making garden flags you saw them dyed with Rit and then stenciled with acrylic paints. All 66 flags of them will hang in my front yard and screen my view of a parking lot. There’s another screening problem in my back yard, and this time...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on February 26, 2016 at 12:34 pm   This post has 12 responses.

Home-Canned Tomatoes: A Tantalizing Taste of Nature in Winter

You may remember I’m an ultra-beginner at canning. Luckily, I am learning from my sister, who has spent years learning from others and experimenting to perfect her own techniques. Not to mention she has a large kitchen stocked with all the necessary equipment. So I give you Ultra-Beginner Tip...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Eat This
Posted by on February 3, 2016 at 2:09 am   This post has 12 responses.

Next in Garden Flag-Making: Rit Dyes and Stencils

I last wrote about finding a crafting coach for my garden flags and trying natural dyes from vegetables for my DYI flags. I confessed that next, I’d be trying artificial dyes (the ubiquitous Rit) because they’re easier, cheaper and much longer-lasting. Best of all, Rit comes in nine colors that...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on January 29, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 18 responses.

Dyeing Prayer Flags with Plants, and How I Found a Crafting Coach

The very day I wrote about Prayer Flags in my Garden, complaining that they only come in primary colors, a neighbor volunteered to help me, writing on Facebook: If I wanted to do this as a craft to match my garden I would go buy some fabric and an...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on January 15, 2016 at 7:44 am   This post has 6 responses.

Are show gardens making us bad gardeners?

Here’s an interesting debate. Late in December, a post published on the American Society of Landscape Architects website by David Hopman opened an attack on unsustainable, resource/labor-intensive approaches to planting design and plant palettes, particularly in big public gardens. I agree with a lot of the post—after all, Hopman...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on January 7, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 20 responses.

Six Ways to Use Fallen Leaves in Your Garden

Got leaves? Use them to boost your garden’s soil and plant health, facilitate the design and creation of new planting beds, turn problem areas into productive ones, and save yourself labor and money, all while doing the green thing. Here are six rewarding, practical alternatives to raking leaves into...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 18, 2015 at 4:58 am   This post has 14 responses.

NWF’s terrible, no-good gardening advice goes viral

Somehow, the National Wildlife Federation’s 2014 blog post “Leave the Leaves for Wildlife” has gone viral this year, and not just on the Internet. Its popular chore-relieving advice is being repeated widely on television, too. Unfortunately, this part of the NWF’s advice hasn’t gone viral – the qualifier: A leaf...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on November 13, 2015 at 9:23 am   This post has 38 responses.

A Satisfying Stack of Stones

Fresh from a class on dry (mortarless) stacked stone wall building, I am appreciating anew the many contributions of stone to a garden. Of course, I’ve already incorporated two stone patios and a couple of stepping stone paths into my new garden, courtesy of my good friend Jason at...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Unusually Clever People
Posted by on October 21, 2015 at 10:11 am   This post has 12 responses.

So, an artist, a curator, and a designer walk into a garden (part II)

Here’s an update on an interesting front garden concept I introduced last year.  (I promised to follow up!) This project by a local curator, artist, and designer is called Territory of Collaboration. Organic shapes and plants suggested by the artist were combined with the ideas of the designer; another...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Real Gardens
Posted by on September 1, 2015 at 8:07 am   This post has 3 responses.

Canning for Ultra-Beginners

I’m by no means a whiz in the kitchen, and honestly, I prefer to eat my garden veggies raw when possible. However, they are piling up! This week, I dipped my toe in the water with a couple of refrigerator-canning projects. They turned out to be pretty easy, so...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on August 19, 2015 at 2:25 am   This post has 7 responses.

Saving Spiders

Last year, I was organizing my new home and found myself in the bathroom doodad aisle of the local “everything” store, holding a blue glass jar with a fitted glass lid. It was just the type of item I usually talk myself out of buying. Years of decluttering have...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on May 20, 2015 at 1:52 am   This post has 22 responses.

The Art of Digging and Where we Learn It

Avid gardeners, I bet you love your tools as much as I do, especially the ones for digging. Gloves I buy by the dozen but digging tools I expect to last forever, which of course they don’t. I recently destroyed my long-handled shovel by treating it like it was...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on April 10, 2015 at 8:22 am   This post has 19 responses.

On Lady Bird Johnson, Beauty, and Tulips v. Daffodils

 Photo by John Taylor.  Title: Lady Bird’s Gift Another great column by John Kelly for the Washington Post – this time about Lady Bird Johnson’s “beautification” program. Lady Bird’s beautification campaign started in the spring of 1965. She was involved with a group called the Society for a More...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on March 27, 2015 at 8:26 am   This post has 14 responses.

Borrowing stones and scenery

Even in New England the snow is melting and soon I will be confronted with what the winter – and the plow truck – have done to my stone walls.  I take a particular pride in these, not because they are such beautiful specimens of the craft, but because...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on March 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm   This post has 11 responses.

Messy gardens—they’re a trend!

Trend reports are kind of trivial in the grand scheme of things—we can all agree on that. But they can also be interesting, entertaining, or both. Or maybe they just reinforce things we’d like to see happen, regardless if they really do or not. For example, I like to...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes
Posted by on February 16, 2015 at 8:00 am   This post has 15 responses.

Winter Interest Battle, Round III: Revenge of the Bulbs

Over the last few posts, this discussion has partially devolved (in comments at least) into climate comparisons and other weather-related talk. Such is the nature of online conversations, but just to reiterate, I’m merely saying that for me, where I live, designing my outside garden for winter interest, as...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on January 25, 2015 at 11:17 am   This post has 16 responses.

Forcing Winter Interest

I have been thinking about Elizabeth’s post on The Myth of Winter Interest. Having spent 25+ years in Minnesota, and recently moved halfway across the country to (among other things) escape the relentless northern winter, I do identify with the urge to focus only on the indoor world during...

Continue Reading

Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on January 7, 2015 at 7:46 am   This post has 19 responses.