Some of my favorite neighbor gardens.

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 I live in will be rewriting […]

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Posted by on November 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm   This post has 9 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 5 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 35 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.

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...

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Posted by on August 18, 2014 at 9:20 am   This post has 6 responses.

Garden Affluence in Another Era

While here at GardenRant the hot topic was rich people’s gardens,  love ‘em or hate ‘em, I was strolling the garden of one of the super-rich – Marjorie  Merriweather Post (as in Post Cereals). Here’s the very grand mansion, named Hillwood, filled with Russian imperial art (including Fabergé Eggs) and...

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Posted by on August 1, 2014 at 7:20 am   This post has 22 responses.

How to Grow Bluebirds

Last Friday I rode shotgun through the Beltsville Ag Research Center in Marcia van Horn’s Ranger as she checked on some of her 175 nesting boxes for bluebirds and tree swallows, with the occasional chickadee, titmouse, wrens or nuthatches taking advantage of the accommodations. Nest boxes were first installed on the 6,700-acre property...

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Posted by on July 25, 2014 at 6:49 am   This post has 7 responses.

Garden Coaching by Rainer

Landscape architect/blogger Thomas Rainer is one of my favorite designers, something I may have mentioned before on this blog.   Gardenblogger Margaret Roach is a Rainer fan, too.  She sought him out for an interview on her podcast, and it’s terrific.  (Transcript here.) My favorite bits are toward the end, when Thomas...

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Posted by on July 18, 2014 at 8:09 am   This post has 21 responses.

Flags in Other People’s Gardens

Happy Independence Day, Americans!  Have fun, stay safe, et cetera. Now on to our topic – flags in the garden and their impact on others.  Take my neighbor’s Old Glory above, hanging on the privacy screen between our townhouse gardens.  Like it or not – and for holidays I...

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Posted by on July 4, 2014 at 7:16 am   This post has 29 responses.

Removing Sod, Saving Earthworms, and Obsessing over Make-Overs

With lawn reduction growing in popularity, email groups are lively with discussions of how to remove the stuff.  There are basically four choices – digging, using a sod-cutter, smothering and spraying with herbicide.  I’ve removed a far bit of sod over the years, always using that first one – great...

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Posted by on June 13, 2014 at 7:20 am   This post has 10 responses.

The Joys of Cockroach Composting. No, really.

We’ve all been there in one way or another – you awake at 3 am and groggily make your way to the bathroom.  No need for the light you think, it’ll just wake me up.  And then, halfway through relieving yourself, you feel a giant thing scrabble madly down...

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Posted by Patrick Gentry on June 12, 2014 at 6:27 am   This post has 11 responses.

So, an artist, a curator, and a designer walk into a garden …

When the words “garden” and “art” collide, you get all kinds of results. There might be a garden that contains one or more unique objects made by artists. Another could be  filled with whirligigs, gazing balls, sun catchers, or—possibly—gnomes. Or maybe the two words  mean nothing more than rows...

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Posted by on June 10, 2014 at 8:51 am   This post has 7 responses.

Garden Dilemma: Under the Bird Feeders

Help!  I’m loving having bird feeders and a bird bath at the edge of my patio, but not loving the seeds sprouting like crazy and causing much weeding to be done. Also, I have to sweep the patio almost daily. To the bird-feeders among you, what do you suggest?...

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Posted by on June 6, 2014 at 11:23 am   This post has 25 responses.

Garden Chores: The WANT TO DO List

What strikes me as the most common thread among all the diverse gardeners I have met or read is that so many don’t unwind much in their own gardens. Of course, we all have that (perhaps infinite) list of things we want to do to improve our gardens. What...

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Posted by on June 4, 2014 at 12:01 am   This post has 24 responses.

A culture of unruliness

Here’s another doublefile viburnum post. No doubt, many (including Susan) would say this one ought to be pruned. It won’t be though, unless there’s some sort of extreme practical reason. Planted in an impossible situation—between two houses and a tree on a property line, in more than partial shade—the...

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Posted by on June 2, 2014 at 8:17 am   This post has 12 responses.
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