No orchids for you, Olympians!

No bouquets at the Olympics this time

Apparently, it did not jive with the Brazil Olympics’ environmental message to give out thousands of cut flowers that would be discarded by their recipients within days. And that makes sense, for sure. But. As an avid Olympics watcher (the only sports I watch), I’ve recently been paying a bit of attention to the floral […]

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Posted by on August 11, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 5 responses.

Ask a Designer: Make Invasives Great Again

Next in our “Ask a Designer” series is a guest rant by David mcmullin. The debate about invasive plants has become, well, invasive. It crops up anywhere gardens and plants are being mentioned. The general idea is this: gardeners are a band of outlaws set on destroying our Habitat through...

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Posted by David mcmullin on August 8, 2016 at 1:03 pm   This post has 65 responses.

“Nobody smells roses any more.”

I kid you not. One of my visitors during Garden Walk Buffalo last weekend told me that a nursery staffer actually said this to her as she was shopping for roses there, after she asked which of their many offerings had fragrance. Of course I immediately wondered which local...

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Posted by on August 4, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 18 responses.

Roses without Chemicals, After Knock Outs

Meet Peter Kukielski, former curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanic Garden, who suddenly had to give up spraying when the city banned pesticide use on public lands. So he researched disease-resistant roses, which led him to Germany and the roses being bred by the breeder Kordes.  Interestingly, Germany...

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Posted by on July 29, 2016 at 9:40 am   This post has 6 responses.

Ask a Designer: Favorite Shrubs

For my first Ask a Designer post the question targeted groundcovers. This time it’s shrubs and I asked another fabulous designer about her favorites. Barbara Katz of London Landscapes in Bethesda, Maryland responded that she has “great respect” for these shrubs. (Here’s some of Barbara’s work.) With deciduous shrubs there are...

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Posted by on July 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm   This post has 7 responses.

The Discovery of Daylily World

Folks living along Gilberts Creek Road, a few miles south of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, must have wondered what was going on this weekend. Twelve tour buses rambled down the country road to visit Daylily World. I didn’t have far to drive. Daylily World is only 6 miles from our Salvisa,...

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Posted by on July 2, 2016 at 9:47 pm   This post has 2 responses.

Ask a Designer: What’s a Good Ground Cover for Shade?

When a local (DC-area) Yahoo group was asked for ground cover recommendations for shade, these plants were suggested: Ajuga, Hosta, Pachysandra (native and nonnative), Epimedium, and Lily of the Valley, ferns, Hellebore, “some phlox, some carex,” Dicentra (bleeding heart), Sedum ternatum, Tiarella, Acorus, Asarum canadense (ginger) and “lots of spring ephemerals.”...

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Posted by on June 2, 2016 at 10:31 pm   This post has 14 responses.

Shopping for Annuals and Perennials

A few weeks ago, I posted a list of tips concerning shopping for trees and shrubs. I promised at that time to follow up with a list of shopping tips for annual and perennial transplants, so here goes. Shop at a well-run garden center. I am leery of big...

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Posted by on May 16, 2016 at 6:41 am   This post has 16 responses.

Do you have a Palafox borealis?

Of course you don’t. I am pretty sure it’s a made-up plant. I was reading about it in a novel by Angela Thirkell called The Old Bank House. Here’s the description of it: …a clump of rather ugly serrated leaves, fleshy and covered with a kind of whitish bristles...

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Posted by on May 10, 2016 at 10:11 am   This post has 8 responses.

Report from New Zealand: How Plants Survived Moa Birds, and More

Scott Aker, head of gardens at the National Arboretum, toured New Zealand over the winter – their summer – with his teenage son, who must have been raised with a high tolerance for hort-speak because from the looks of Scott’s slide show, it was a plant-centric journey. Scott certainly...

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Posted by on May 6, 2016 at 6:32 am   This post has 4 responses.

Slices of Spring and Steak

I’ve been on the clock of Jelitto Perennial Seeds for nearly 21 years. I peddle perennial seeds (over 3,500 different items), but from time to time, with my colleagues there, I enjoy the pleasure of wildflowers, gardens, nurseries and even a good steak. It is a great gig. Georg...

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Posted by on April 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm   This post has 12 responses.

The tulip graveyard

It’s nice, as graveyards go. Colorful bulbs—species tulips, grape hyacinth, narcissus, erythronium—flourish in it throughout the later spring, followed by lush plantings of shade perennials—Solomon’s seal, ghost fern, bugbane (actea), brunnera, hellebores, and, of course, plenty of hosta. It’s unlikely that the casual passer-by could begin to imagine the...

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Posted by on April 26, 2016 at 7:59 am   This post has 5 responses.

Plant Shopping Dos and Don’ts

Plant-shopping is a hobby for most addicted gardeners, but it’s also a craft. Years ago, when I wanted to sharpen my skills, I consulted with the buyer for a busy Long Island landscape installation company; this company depended for its reputation on installing only first class plants. The buyer...

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Posted by on April 18, 2016 at 9:41 am   This post has 9 responses.

#TBT: Plant Lust

Here’s a May, 2007 post from Garden Rant co-founder Amy Stewart, in which she speaks of a situation that has only grown in significance since when this was posted. Gardeners Like Us are naturally suspicious of “branded” plants, particularly when that brand has a hokey name like Proven Winners. ...

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Posted by on April 14, 2016 at 6:46 am   This post has 8 responses.

Wildflowers—learning to settle

A Facebook post from Rant partner Allen Bush got me thinking about wildflowers—not that we’ve been seeing too many flowers outside of any type here in Western New York. Now is the spring of our discontent: after a semi-glorious winter that had temps frequently breaking into the sixties and...

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Posted by on April 12, 2016 at 7:54 am   This post has 12 responses.

Showing Off My Grandplants

One marker of true success for me as a gardener, a situation in which I feel I’ve received a “gold star” from Nature, is when a plant I’ve placed in the garden produces an offspring. Ecologically, this doesn’t necessarily mean I picked the perfect spot for that plant. A...

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Posted by on April 6, 2016 at 2:55 am   This post has 5 responses.

Perils of Plantsmanship

Recently I went to a lecture at the New York Botanical Garden by Italian garden designer Luciano Giubbilei. His passion was infectious and his images were ravishing – spectacular gardens composed of just a handful of elements. This was a message that particularly resonated with me, as I’ve become...

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Posted by on April 4, 2016 at 10:43 am   This post has 19 responses.

The Payoff

For wildlife gardeners — including those who want to support pollinators — certain plants promise a bigger payoff. Shrubs are one category of plant that often deliver more rewards for less effort. They are larger than a perennial and can produce many more blooms per plant. Since they are...

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Posted by on March 16, 2016 at 2:31 am   This post has 5 responses.

When The Aster Hitched a Ride

I received a letter from Raydon (pronounced RAYd’n) Alexander 25 years ago. A passalong plant was on the road to distinction. January 15, 1991 Dear Mr. Bush, I am taking the liberty of sending you an aster that should, I think, be more widely distributed. I can see from...

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Posted by on March 9, 2016 at 7:51 am   This post has 13 responses.

Wild means wild

The season is almost upon us here in Western New York. Snowdrops came and went in early February, though I see just a few late bloomers emerging—they might be some fancy hybrids I put in last September. I don’t bother with crocuses, but do expect plenty of lesser-used ephemerals—like...

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Posted by on March 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm   This post has 5 responses.
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