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Merry Christmas from the White House!

From a recent visitor to the  White House, to be more precise.  Yes, that’s me standing beneath the presidential seal (major photo-op), and on the left is the grand north entrance.  If I’d planned ahead and contacted my congressman I could have taken the White House tour with the general public BUT for some reason […]

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Posted by on December 25, 2013 at 8:29 am   This post has 3 responses.

Garden Sage: One of my Signature Plants

Garden sage (Salvia officinalis) was one of the first useful plants I added to my first garden; my goal was to grow enough that I could use it fresh for Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing. Fifteen years later, I’m on my third garden, and though it is brand new this...

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Posted by on December 18, 2013 at 2:48 am   This post has 24 responses.

Made any of these “10 Terrible Mistakes”?

Seen on the Landscape Architect Network.   Click here for the other 9. Also seen at the Landscape Architect Network is this T-shirt.  A little sensitive, are we?

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Posted by on December 3, 2013 at 8:39 am   This post has 10 responses.

A Flower Show at the End of the World

Enjoy a photo-travelogue by our guest Rob Cardillo! This past October, I was lucky enough to attend Japan’s fourth annual Gardening World Cup set in Huis Ten Bosch  –  a slightly surreal, Dutch-inspired theme park complete with canals, windmills and stroopwafels.   Invited by the sponsors to come see one...

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Posted by Rob Cardillo on November 14, 2013 at 7:41 am   This post has 6 responses.

Finding Native-Plant Beauty in the Bronx

While I was visiting New York City earlier this month I didn’t JUST visit the High Line.  Also on my agenda was the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, about which I’d read so much when it opened this spring.  It was designed by DC-area landscape...

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Posted by on August 23, 2013 at 7:47 am   This post has 9 responses.

The High Line in Person

Last week I finally saw the world-famous High Line Park in NYC and, like everyone with a pulse, I loved it.  And unlike some scolds complaining about gentrification and the high maintenance costs, I have nothing bad to say about it.  I’m even more impressed with it after finding...

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Posted by on August 16, 2013 at 9:29 am   This post has 20 responses.

The Fortress Look in Deer Fencing

Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray I mean, I get it…but I don’t really get it. The lawn is meticulously manicured, the stonework beautiful, and within the lovely iron garden gate (topped by an additional 4 feet of deer netting), the lilies are tall and happy, the shrubs lush and...

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Posted by on June 28, 2013 at 9:32 am   This post has 36 responses.

No Bad Yards

Guest Rant by Rebecca Sullivan I was just reading Billy Goodnick’s guest post, and I have to confess that by the end of it, I found myself annoyed. What bothered me is something that bothers me about a lot of garden writing, and that’s this element of judgment, that...

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Posted by on June 27, 2013 at 6:24 am   This post has 22 responses.

Good Yard or Bad Yard? Garden Design Pitfalls

“If someone visiting your yard asks, ‘Did you do that on purpose?’ your yard needs help.” That’s the first sentence on page 40 of my book, and one of my favorites. I told the Rant-ettes I wouldn’t abuse my privilege as guest blogger to flog you with flagrant come-ons...

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Posted by on June 20, 2013 at 8:32 am   This post has 24 responses.

Bedding Your Plants

Guest Rant by Geoff Lewis I would like to speak to the curious sport of bedding plants. Bedding plants – you know, big pansies, dwarf marigolds and their ilk. One’s vision is of an orgiastic colour melee: Vast flocks of the vegetative equivalent of Pekinese and/or Schitzu-Poodle crosses (schit-poos)...

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Posted by on April 30, 2013 at 10:09 am   This post has 11 responses.

Plea from a Plant-Loving Landscape Architect

Michael Van Valkenburgh is one of a few hot-shot landscape architects who’s known for large, high-visibility projects, like his redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House post-9/11.  He landed on my radar thanks to that project, which is local to me.  So I was happy to...

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Posted by on March 22, 2013 at 8:50 am   This post has 21 responses.

Susan Morrison’s Incredibly Cool New Garden App

  We here at GardenRant World Headquarters have not had much luck with gardening apps so far.  They seemed so bright and shiny and new and full of promise at first, but then–meh.  The thrill faded quickly, and I didn’t have a single garden app on my iPhone when...

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Posted by on March 15, 2013 at 5:02 am   This post has 8 responses.

Hedges in Suburbia

When the planned community of Greenbelt was created in the ’30s, the landscape plan consisted of trees on their way to grandeur (mostly oaks) and hedges, like the ones in the old photo above.  The shrubs used were and still are euonymus and privet, of which the euonymus are...

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Posted by on March 8, 2013 at 8:11 am   This post has 23 responses.

Crimes against…Masonry?

I love Billy Goodnick’s campaign “Crimes against Horticulture,” but these expensive stone columns are in a whole other category.  Just imagine the plants the owners could have bought and had installed for the money they spent for these?  In a wealthy neighborhood in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm   This post has 36 responses.

The Cocktail Garden: Before and After

Last week I posted garden designer Susan Morrison’s lovely hand-drawn plans of my cocktail garden, which she designed in response to my desperate plea for help. You can see the final results in the February issue of Sunset magazine, but maybe you’d like to see where we started. Because...

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 at 4:02 am   This post has 12 responses.

The Cocktail Garden!

So! Sunset magazine stopped by a few months ago. It was great fun hanging out with a couple of pros all day and watching them work. (Oh, and there was some mixing of cocktails, too.) Anyway, you can see the results in the February issue of Sunset, which is...

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Posted by on January 23, 2013 at 3:48 am   This post has 5 responses.

Instant Screening, on the Cheap

In my narrow new townhouse garden, I immediately planted some evergreens that’ll eventually provide all the screening I need.  In the intervening 3-5 years, however, should I resign myself to sitting in plain view of passersby on foot and wheel?  A visiting gardener friend inspired me to DO something...

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Posted by on January 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm   This post has 3 responses.

Thomas Rainer on Design Trends

My favorite blogging landscape architect, Thomas Rainer, posted a provocative report on Garden Design Trends, so let’s discuss, shall we?  I wrote to Thomas for clarification and he kindly obliged. New Romanticism First, I love these predictions and sure hope they come to pass: People will turn to their...

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Posted by on January 18, 2013 at 9:46 am   This post has 10 responses.

How the rest of the world solves the front-yard problem? No front yard!

Time for a follow-up to my recent criticism of the all-turf American front yard, which we can thank Olmsted for popularizing both in parks and in front of homes.  When commissioned to design a new town, he mandated 30-foot setbacks from the street. Readers here know that front yards...

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Posted by on January 4, 2013 at 9:11 am   This post has 32 responses.

What a Little Paint Can Do

In my last post about my new back garden I thanked Rant readers for their design tips, all of which I incorporated.  Well, most of which – until now.  The super-honest Christopher C wrote to tell me that he CRINGED whenever I posted a photo of my neighbor’s privacy...

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am   This post has 20 responses.
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