Raising hell between the street and sidewalk

Last week, the New York Times took up a common gardening dilemma—what do do with the urban/suburban median/easeway/tree lawn/hellstrip, a spot which generally does not belong to the homeowner, but must be maintained. Writer Michael Tortorello discussed the general conditions to be found here (compacted soil debris, road salt build-up).  After reading the modest list of […]

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Posted by on June 1, 2010 at 4:42 am   This post has 12 responses.

Surfing Chelsea

It’s always fascinating to read about this, the ultimate of garden shows. Chelsea makes such attempts on our side of the Atlantic look kind of ordinary—not that I think we should try to emulate them. I am including a few items that caught my attention—and here(1) are some links(2),...

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Posted by on May 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm   This post has one response.

Vertical plantings? Why not?

This living/green wall concept seems kind of neat to me. I would go for a small unit of wall plants that I could hand water. It reminds me of when we were in Campania on vacation. Our apartment near Amalfi (in a smaller village called Atrani) seemed to have...

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Posted by on May 11, 2010 at 5:43 am   This post has 8 responses.

Are living walls just “green bling”?

I'd recommend this article in the NYTimes for the term "green bling" alone but it also does a good job of presenting what's good and bad about a hot new feature in the building world – vegetated walls.  What's bad?  The systems break down, they're heavy, people expect them...

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Posted by on May 8, 2010 at 3:59 am   This post has 25 responses.

Spending thousands of imaginary dollars, online

It’s home design crack, pure and simple. I’m not quite an addict yet, but with a kitchen makeover looming later this spring, I have been known to lose an hour or two clicking through the images on Houzz. This has been called the “Flickr of design idea sites” and...

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Posted by on April 13, 2010 at 10:00 am   This post has 7 responses.

Rethinking the Monumental Greensward

Culture critic Philip Kennicott has a vision for the National Mall that I found shocking at first, then really wonderful.  Though it'll never, ever happen.  That's because it means no more massive political protests, no more Folklife Festival (now THAT I'd miss), and the retiring of war memorials after...

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Posted by on April 12, 2010 at 4:26 am   This post has 9 responses.

Will civic center be as popular as Astroturf? We can only hope.

There once was a half city block in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland that was everyone's favorite place to hang out with the family.  Toddlers ran around, teenagers flirted loudly.  All that, and no danger of grass stains or those annoying insects – coz it was covered with artificial turf. ...

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Posted by on April 5, 2010 at 4:45 am   This post has 8 responses.

It’s too late for me. Save yourselves!

It would be nice to think that all the color advice we see in books and magazines are just solutions looking for nonexistent problems, but I know that there is such a thing as a garden planned for color. Don’t try this at home. I’ve just never seen one...

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Posted by on March 23, 2010 at 5:48 am   This post has 34 responses.

A leaf-composting operation that any town can do

Okay, I'm going out on a limb in saying any town could do this – just because my own town of Takoma Park, MD does it.  But jeez, picking up residents' leaves and turning them into mulch for the community seems like SUCH a nobrainer – both environmentally AND...

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Posted by on March 22, 2010 at 4:08 am   This post has 33 responses.

Oh, Canada Blooms

CB display garden (detail) And oh garden shows. I get more pleasure looking at the first spring ephemerals emerging in my front yard than I do from most garden shows, but Canada Blooms in Toronto is always a temptation. Measured by attendance, CB is one of the big ones,...

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Posted by on March 21, 2010 at 6:55 am   This post has 5 responses.

Low-maintenance, check; water feature, check; native plants, check …

Water is still big, as long as you don't have to take care of it We get a lot of gardening trend reports and I am sure many of you do too. But one I'm likely to pay a bit more attention to comes from the American Society of...

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Posted by on March 9, 2010 at 9:59 am   This post has 6 responses.

For year-round color in the garden, house paint!

For Bloom Day I did my usual cheating and showed you bark and architecture in not my own but a public garden – cheating being great sport for us gardeners experiencing actual winter (as opposed to whatever Californians call their bizarre climate). But for great color no matter the...

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Posted by on January 18, 2010 at 5:10 am   This post has 12 responses.

The gin works

But, as I am sure many of you have experienced, sometimes it can work all too well. Like when you wake up feeling like someone might have accidentally buried an axe in your head. In this case, it was my tazettas that had the hangover.  For a few years...

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Posted by on January 12, 2010 at 5:00 am   This post has 13 responses.

A No-Tree Christmas Tree

More often than not lately, we haven't put up a Christmas tree.  This is not some grand environmental statement (Christmas trees are, after all, a perfectly fine agricultural product and you can even buy organic ones in some places)–it's more a lack of time and organization and motivation. And...

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Posted by on December 23, 2009 at 5:56 am   This post has 28 responses.

I still heart my terrarium—and this book

   My terrarium in 11/08 and now (right)  You won’t find many succulents in the terrariums in Tovah Martin’s beautifully illustrated book The New Terrarium (Clarkson-Potter, with photos by Kindra Clineff), but the fact that—even with non-recommended plants—my terrarium is going strong after 14 months demonstrates that this may...

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Posted by on December 22, 2009 at 6:03 am   This post has 14 responses.

Casa del Herrero: Was It a Dream?

Last week in Santa Barbara I visited Casa del Herrero, a historic home and garden designed by George Washington Smith, the architect who is pretty much responsible for Santa Barbara's Spanish Colonial Revival style. The place was a vacation home for George Fox Steedman, an industrialist who made his...

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Posted by on November 11, 2009 at 3:39 am   This post has 6 responses.

What I want for Christmas – a wearable hummingbird feeder

REALLY want one.  And if nobody gives it to me I might just spring for the $80 myself.

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Posted by on October 28, 2009 at 9:58 am   This post has 12 responses.

Fall gardening: preventative and speculative

  My favorite macrophylla: well worth protecting Along with the unseasonable temps we’ve been whining about, winter protection rears its troublesome head. My most recent purchases include seven expensive broadleaf evergreens: three leucothoe (edit) “Rainbow”, three pieris japonica, and one leatherleaf viburnum (rhytidophyllum). That’s what we call dicing with...

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Posted by on October 20, 2009 at 5:00 am   This post has 14 responses.

Hard truths about perennials for landscaping (Ofa Conference, continued)

According to Ofa Conference presenter Cathy Tenaglia of the Brickman Group, the good news is that corporations, institutions, and governments are willing to use perennials for public landscaping. Tenaglia started out by saying that early in her gardening career, she vowed to replace all the creeping junipers she saw...

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Posted by on September 22, 2009 at 6:55 am   This post has 6 responses.

New Hort Research that Gardeners Can Use, September ’09 Edition

1.  Yang, D. S., S. V. Punnisi, K. C. Son, and S. J. Kays. 2009.  Screening indoor plants for volatile organic pollutant removal efficiency. HortScience 44(5): 1377-1381. 2.  Newton, L. A., and E. S. Runkle.  2009.  High-temperature inhibition of flowering of Phalaenopsis and Doritaenopsis orchids.  HortScience 44(5): 1271-1276. 3. ...

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Posted by on September 21, 2009 at 5:04 am   This post has 7 responses.
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