The Little Greenhouse That Could

My first greenhouse was neither big nor fancy. Built in 1980, the 14’ X 32’ hoop house—small by commercial greenhouse standards—became my plant propagation house for the next 15 years. I spent a lot of time in the little greenhouse at Holbrook Farm and Nursery near Mills River, NC. It was a quiet hideaway from […]

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Posted by on January 11, 2018 at 9:25 am   This post has 5 responses.

Criminal Charges for Bamboo “Blight” in Yard

From articles in the New York Times and the New London Day I learned that the City of New London, CT has declared overgrowth of bamboo in the yard of resident Carlos Carrion a blight. After failing to pay fines and ignoring orders to cut back the plant, he’s become “one of...

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Posted by on January 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm   This post has 16 responses.

Tulip or Not Tulip – THAT was the Question

There is a soldiers and sailors memorial garden near the center of my small Ohio River town that also pays homage to our local police and firemen. Nobody wanted to leave anybody out. It’s just that kind of town. When we moved here to Utica, IN about 40 years...

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Posted by on December 29, 2017 at 8:42 am   This post has 3 responses.

Rock me, Kokedama

Most Rant readers are likely familiar with Japanese moss ball plants, or kokedama. I was not, however (or maybe I forgot about them), and when I saw a pre-Christmas email from a local plant store offering kokedama of various sizes for sale, with images, I was there the next...

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Posted by on December 28, 2017 at 10:27 am   This post has 2 responses.

Where the Giant Redwoods Roam

We grow many things in Los Angeles; desert agaves, tropical kiwis, tomatoes in November, carrots in January. We like to think we can grow anything, climate be damned. So we plant the treasures of our state, California Redwoods (Sequoia Sempervirens). 240 million years ago redwoods lived through much of...

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Posted by Rick Perillo on December 11, 2017 at 7:44 am   This post has 5 responses.

Perennial Royalty: It’s Inbred

There are few families in American horticulture with four generations of successful nursery crops. There are even fewer nursery legends with a story so well remembered as that of Jack Schultz, the 88-year-old Schultz family patriarch and founder of Springbrook Gardens, wholesale perennials growers, in Mentor, Ohio. Jack’s dad,...

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Posted by on November 29, 2017 at 7:56 am   This post has 2 responses.

Amo, Amas, Amat in the Garden

The further I get into this horticulture life the more I realize how little I know, especially of its outer edges; all that Latin derivation and categorization stuff. That used to bother me. People forever mistake me for an expert. I’m about over it. I’m in my Old Guy...

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 at 8:10 am   This post has 4 responses.

Goodbye, and thanks for your service

Trees are suffering. First, there are the pests; among the most current are the emerald ash borer, the mountain pine beetle, and the wooly aldegid. Then there are the ravages of fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters; it was awful to see the defoliation in the Caribbean earlier this...

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm   This post has 8 responses.

Video: Best-Performing Native Plants in my Garden

These days we’re all paying more attention to beneficial wildlife in our gardens, and to that end, looking for good native plants to grow. But which ones? Those official lists of state or regional natives don’t really help the aspiring eco-gardener make their choices. So many of the listed...

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Posted by on November 17, 2017 at 8:26 am   This post has 10 responses.

It’s a Mast Year

Ever heard of a “mast year?” I hadn’t until we moved to our cottage on the Eastern Shore. That was June.  In early September, it started. Artillery fire. Lying in bed in our loft, with no attic to buffer us, it was like the London blitz—except with acorns. The...

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Posted by Sandra Gaffigan on November 14, 2017 at 9:37 am   This post has 5 responses.

Can these Junipers be Saved?

My latest gardening obsession is making over the landscape in front of my housing co-op offices, where the top priority is to do something about the overgrown junipers. Planted too close to the sidewalk and doors, they’d been sheared back, which caused much unsightly needle-browning. The problem wasn’t just...

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Posted by on November 10, 2017 at 8:20 am   This post has 11 responses.

There’s fall color—and fall color

Every day on my way to work, I always look at a certain house, just before I make my final turn. It is the one vibrant spot of color on a block, which, though perfectly nice, is typified by sedate, small front lawns and a few foundation plantings. But...

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Posted by on October 26, 2017 at 10:02 am   This post has 5 responses.

Closing edicts

Lessons learned from the 2017 gardening season (so far): Never again: Morning glory (convolvulus): The central mission of this (gorgeous) blue cultivar seemed to be to envelope every plant within its reach, while making sure to release as few flowers as possible in the process. The blooms, when they...

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Posted by on October 10, 2017 at 11:23 am   This post has 15 responses.

Solidago solidarity

A recent post from my good friend, gardener and blogger, Gail Eichelberger, poses the question, “What’s wrong with goldenrod?” She then swiftly answers, “Nothing!” I couldn’t agree more. Here is one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, late season plants. I rejoice when it spreads to cover entire...

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Posted by on September 28, 2017 at 11:18 am   This post has 6 responses.

The Clarion Call of Brugmansia

October is peeking its nose up over the horizon now, shortening the days, painting the landscape, dredging up reluctant thoughts of the leaf blower and raggedy sweaters. And yet it’s been 90 degrees here in Southern Indiana, even as the rest of the world deals with snow, torrential rains,...

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Posted by on September 25, 2017 at 10:46 am   This post has 6 responses.

In Praise of a Plant That Needs Your Love

  Diarrhena americana. The Latin name doesn’t inspire lustful desire does it? What a pity. It’s better than its name. I remember the moment I first came across this native grass. I had no idea what its name was when I was introduced. But Rick Lewandowski knew the name...

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Posted by on September 13, 2017 at 8:14 am   This post has 15 responses.

Milllennials love houseplants? Yay!

And it’s interesting, because I’m learning this just as I’ve begun to feel kind of blasé about my houseplants. I still have plenty, but I maintain them without as much interest as I used to—I get much more excited about my indoor bulb forcing projects, which fill the house...

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Posted by on September 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm   This post has 5 responses.

Hands off the hydrangeas

Thanks to plentiful rain and other friendly conditions, this is the summer of the Hydrangea in the Northeast, at least as far as I’ve observed. Huge stands of paniculata, macrophylla, and arborescens varieties are blooming profusely. My neighbor’s pink macrophylla blooms are easily a foot in circumference; it’s amazing...

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Posted by on August 22, 2017 at 8:58 am   This post has 5 responses.

Perennially Yours: Steve Still

Garden Rant contributor Bob Hill came to my 60th surprise birthday party some years ago. After a few glasses of wine, he said, “Look around. All of these friends will be at your funeral.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or pray. I have thought about Bob’s prophetic words...

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Posted by on August 9, 2017 at 7:23 am   This post has 10 responses.

Sunflowers Rivaling Cherry Blossoms as Top Plant Attraction

Here’s why I’m going out on a cherry blossom limb to assert that the humble sunflower is gaining on DC’s most overhyped flowers. Just outside DC, Maryland’s McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area is just now seeing its sunflower fields cleared of photographers from near and far. There’s a special Guide for Photographing...

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Posted by on August 4, 2017 at 10:07 am   This post has 3 responses.