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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 I thought I’d encourage any other […]

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Posted by on August 19, 2015 at 2:25 am   This post has 6 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Posted by on January 7, 2015 at 7:46 am   This post has 19 responses.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Landscaping – Sinners Beware!

Guest Rant by Lori Hawkins Just as Dante identified the seven deadly sins in his Inferno, so we will explore the cardinal sins of the landscaping world.  Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride are all alive and well!  They will all be identified with examples of the...

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Posted by Lori Hawkins on December 11, 2014 at 7:21 am   This post has 19 responses.

Meadow Day in Maryland

Meadows are HOT these days, thanks to anti-lawn sentiments, concern for pollinators, and some smart designers and plant researchers.  I encountered all of the above one day last month. University of Maryland at College Park First I attended a talk+tour at the University of Maryland about the meadows on...

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Posted by on December 5, 2014 at 9:44 am   This post has 7 responses.

Winter Soundscapes

Winter offers less visual stimulation. I find myself noticing smells and sounds more. Maybe it’s just that every little bit of sensory input is more important, there being less overall. For the most part, it is a season of quiet. Snow and fog muffle the sounds of vehicles. People...

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 at 2:01 am   This post has 8 responses.

Can a Garden Contest Teach and Inspire?

We bash Homeowners Associations regularly for their crazy, backward-looking rules against growing edibles, eliminating lawn, growing wilder-looking plants (horrors!) and more. But what if a condo or coop association used their collective power and authority to improve the yards under their jurisdiction? Could get radical! The 1,600-townhouse cooperative community...

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Posted by on November 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm   This post has 10 responses.

Snow: Lessons in Perspective

Why is it that, after a snowfall, the landscape looks so much better, even if nothing has changed underneath? Snow offers the opportunity to view your garden with new perspective and insights that can make it more enjoyable in every season. When you hear the phrase “winter interest,” you...

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Posted by on November 19, 2014 at 12:51 am   This post has 6 responses.

My sort-of conservatory

Having just read a series of books about nineteenth century (and earlier) estate gardens, I don’t find myself in the least bit envious of the expansive acreages that these property owners had to tend. But I do long for a refuge where I can enjoy flowering plants throughout the...

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Posted by on November 10, 2014 at 8:55 am   This post has 8 responses.

Piling Leaves and Stacking Functions

There’s a permaculture concept called “stacking functions.” It refers to choosing strategies that have several benefits or accomplish multiple goals. Take, for example, a strategy I’m fond of: smothering lawn with fallen leaves to create new planting beds. I have done and will continue to do this in different...

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Posted by on November 5, 2014 at 5:34 am   This post has 36 responses.

Surprising Garden Design Choices from 1930

As I mentioned in this post about hedges, there’s an unusual amount of them in my New Deal town, and they’re associated with our launch in 1937.  So if we care about preserving our history, are we stuck with hedges? I’m not a fan, so I was thrilled to discover a gardening...

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Posted by on October 31, 2014 at 7:57 am   This post has 18 responses.

Confessions of a Garden Conservancy Open Day Volunteer

Before I get to the confessions, a short tour of the four fabulous DC-area gardens open to the public through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Gardens Program.  (And thanks to local APLD VP Carolyn Mullet for making it happen.) The home and garden above and in the next three photos are modern in...

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Posted by on October 24, 2014 at 9:09 am   This post has 10 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...

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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...

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 at 2:17 am   This post has 51 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...

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Posted by on September 19, 2014 at 8:55 am   This post has 6 responses.
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