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 plants aren’t even in the trade! […]

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

17 New Plants, One Aging Gardener

So having just returned from a favorite nursery with 17 new plants I didn’t really need – but couldn’t live without – my mind leans toward the phenomenon of impulse buying, if not Zen and The Art of Horticultural Maintenance. Precisely what is it that triggers the mind to...

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Posted by on July 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm   This post has 4 responses.

Perfect Prairie Meadow? More like Field of Broken Dreams

My lust for the perfect prairie meadow show – aided and abated, of course, with the need for a new septic system – began with the lacy-pink flowers of Queen-of-the-Prairie, or Filipendula rubra. I had not seen The Native Queen in all her glory until purchasing our history-worn Hoosier...

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Posted by on June 28, 2017 at 7:32 am   This post has 8 responses.

Ask not for whom the lily beetle tolls

Finally, they’re here. For at least 5 years, now, I have been hearing tales of destruction and dire prophecies from friends and garden visitors who live to the east and northeast of Buffalo. “Do you have the lily beetle yet? They’re everywhere in (Rochester/New England/Ithaca, etc.). I don’t grow...

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Posted by on June 13, 2017 at 10:16 am   This post has 7 responses.

But not for me

Some plants are just untouchable, iconic. Lilacs are among those plants. They’re immortalized in poetry, like “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Or glorious in cities, as in Rochester’s lilac festival or New York’s Cloisters. Yet, I removed two large lilacs from my property within two years of...

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Posted by on June 1, 2017 at 10:44 am   This post has 8 responses.

Crazy petunias—what do we think?

Sometimes, I look at my Facebook feed to get inspiration for a post, and this morning yielded a pretty good batch. Peat moss! Back in the news. Oh, here’s a lame tulip video I made back in 2009 (won’t be resharing that). And—this just in, breaking news: according to...

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Posted by on May 16, 2017 at 9:07 am   This post has 3 responses.

Always Dreaming

Long lines at the betting window last weekend were not my concern. I piddled around on Derby Day at home—on the couch and in the garden. I dodged rain showers outside, while inside I sidestepped heavy grazing on beef tenderloin, country ham, corn pudding and my niece’s cookies. I...

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Posted by on May 10, 2017 at 8:12 am   This post has 3 responses.

A Taraxacum officinale Grower Reveals Her Secrets

Guest Post by Amy Campion We were getting ready to go to the Hortlandia Plant Sale, when Scott and I saw it. Its blossoms glowed like pure sunshine. “Oh, my God,” I said. “Is that…?” Heather nodded. “Taraxacum officinale,” Scott said breathlessly. I realized then that Heather had been...

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Posted by Amy Campion on May 7, 2017 at 7:58 am   This post has 12 responses.

The Run from the Roses

I run from roses until mid-April, when my mood changes, as the Kentucky Derby grows near. The Run for the Roses turns me tenderhearted toward roses. It’s complicated. We have two disease-ravaged and bug-eaten pitiful roses in our garden. I should back up for a second. I’m married to...

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Posted by on May 3, 2017 at 7:01 am   This post has 5 responses.