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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 discover his article “Landscapes Over Time” […]

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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.

Olympic Landscape Takes Gold

Sure, the London Olympics are practically ancient history by now, dozens of news cycles back.  But did you hear a word about the landscape created for the Games and now enjoyed by Londoners?  Me neither. But according to the Evening Standard: “The real star of the Olympic site is...

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 at 11:06 am   This post has 3 responses.

Thank you, Rant commenter, for designing my garden

When I posted photos of my new back yard and asked for suggestions I sure got ‘em – some so thoughtful I just have to share them.  (Remember these?) A commenter in Vermont previously unknown to me had LOTS to say and she’s already changed my garden. For example,...

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 at 8:44 am   This post has 9 responses.

Keep Your Garden Out of My Face

Guest Rant by Billy Goodnick  It was a dark and foggy summer night. Biff the Wonder Spaniel and I set out for our last neighborhood stroll, green poopy bag at the ready. It’s a good thing I didn’t have my nose buried in my iPhone, catching up on the...

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 at 8:33 am   This post has 61 responses.

Small-garden ideas from Thomas Rainer

Boy, when you reveal your garden here on the web, you’d better be prepared for feedback – the honest stuff, not for the thin-skinned.  That’s what I got after I posted photos of my new back yard, via comment and email, and I’m sharing some of the suggestions because...

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Posted by on August 7, 2012 at 7:41 am   This post has 18 responses.

Help me Understand Edible Forest Gardening

Recently I’ve noticed a bumper crop of talks promoting something I’d never heard of before – forest gardening and the “food forests” or “edible forest gardens” that result from it.  Turns out my initial assumption – that a forest garden is a shady woodland garden of ornamental plants –...

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Posted by on May 29, 2012 at 6:04 am   This post has 61 responses.

Beautiful—but also kind of a yawn

This might be at the other end of the spectrum from funky bottle trees and found object enclosures. Acres and acres of lawn. Although Asheville’s Biltmore estate is set inside a magnificent wooded landscape, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the formal gardens surrounding the house (also by FLO) have retained less...

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Posted by on May 28, 2012 at 6:20 am   This post has 19 responses.

Crimes Against Horticulture, Pruning Division

I can’t help but steal my post title from Billy Goodnick – the term is just too apt, in the case of these two juicy examples of bad pruning. On the left, the power company seems like the obvious culprit but once homeowners plant trees too close to the...

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Posted by on May 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm   This post has 23 responses.

Shovel ready

I don’t mind stealing a phrase many others have used concerning the Asheville garden of Christopher Mello, visited by garden bloggers (our annual get-together) this past weekend. The space is dominated by a central circular space filled with Tonka trucks and surrounded by upright shovels. There are also perennial borders—amazing blue...

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 at 4:49 am   This post has 33 responses.

Sunset’s 40 (not 41) Gorgeous Paths

Over on the Sunset website I found a fabulous display of paths, a garden feature we just don’t see enough of, imho.  The collection is titled “41 Gorgeous Garden Paths” and indeed, 40 of them ARE gorgeous, like the one above.  The only exception is this next one, which looks...

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 at 6:24 am   This post has 20 responses.

Thomas Rainer on Contemporary Garden Design with Natives

Landscape architect Thomas Rainer (whose blog Grounded Design I’ve raved about) recently spoke to a rapt audience at the National Arboretum’s Native Plant Symposium, addressing the big question – how to create a native-plant garden that looks like a garden.  You know, cared for and pretty. So first he clarified that he’s no...

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Posted by on April 10, 2012 at 6:30 am   This post has 19 responses.
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