Shade plant image courtesy of Shutterstock

Full sun to part shade. Really?

Plant labels tend to be prosaic. They are not—to my knowledge—as carefully scrutinized by federal agencies as food labels are, but nonetheless, the big growers seem to reliably police themselves, offering botanical names, reasonably truthful dimensions, and helpful planting and care information.  Except, sadly, when it comes to light requirements. This goes for catalog descriptions […]

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 at 8:17 am   This post has 19 responses.

Poppies for Memories

Since I moved to Idaho, my sister and mom and their friends and my friends have been generously donating plants to fill my new garden beds. (Gardeners are the nicest people.) This week, I’m transplanting poppies from my sister. I’m planting them in areas that I smothered with leaves...

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Posted by on March 19, 2014 at 4:15 am   This post has 17 responses.

Keeping me sane

As the winter winds to its possible close, here are some images of my indoor gardening efforts. These Madame Sophie hyacinths have a looser flowering habit than others, but they’re quite charming. Splendid Cornelia in forcing glasses   Vuurbank hyacinths Strangely, non-tazetta narcissus take just as long to force...

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 at 9:04 am   This post has 5 responses.

Down with Leylands!

Below, author Ruth Kassinger summarizes a chapter from her new book, A Garden of Marvels, published this week. Tomorrow we’ll have a book review and giveaway. Lately, with heavy snow here in suburban Maryland, I’ve had to keep an eye on my neighbor’s Leyland cypresses that stand in a...

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Posted by Ruth Kassinger on February 27, 2014 at 8:22 am   This post has 12 responses.

This (see photo) will never be me: 10 years of orchid FAIL

It’s not that I’m actually killing them. I can keep the plants alive, no problem. Indeed, I am very proud of my houseplant success in general; I have a huge 13-year-old gardenia that bursts into bloom every summer and a jasmine almost that old that provides lovely fragrance from...

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 17 responses.

Beware of the Wronged Coconuts!

Coconut palms are the quintessential symbol of tropical paradise. Spindly, tall trees with large feathery leaves wisp in tropical breezes on tropical beaches of white sand, under blue sky and by turquoise water. Beach in Hawaii with coconut palm tree. (cc) anda (: on Flickr. Up in the crown...

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Posted by Lena Struwe on February 20, 2014 at 7:05 am   This post has 5 responses.

It’s Valentine’s Day. Do You Know Where Your Roses Came From?

Guest Rant by Debra Prinzing Earlier this week, Libby Francis-Baxter, owner of The Modest Florist in Baltimore, made headlines in the local media by announcing her plans for a rose-free Valentine’s Day. “I don’t support outsourcing flower production to South and Central America at the expense of our own...

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Posted by on February 14, 2014 at 7:15 am   This post has 16 responses.

Succulents are OUT? Oh, No They’re NOT

Guest rant by Debra Lee Baldwin, a rebuttal to Ivette Soler’s rant in which she expressed ennui about succulents and proposed that the plants’ popularity is diminishing. If anyone ought to be sick of succulents, it should be me, having spent a decade studying and photographing them, and twice...

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Posted by Debra Lee Baldwin on February 11, 2014 at 7:39 am   This post has 25 responses.

When good garden writers give bad pruning advice

Yes, ProfessorRoush has not blogged for quite some time.  January has frankly been dismal here in the Flint Hills, and I’ve been leery of planning the return of green and glorious landscapes lest I awaken the wrath of the Winter Gods and precipitate another late April snowstorm. I was rudely roused, however, from...

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Posted by on February 3, 2014 at 6:39 am   This post has 38 responses.

Celery – Stems, Stalks or Sticks?

Celery is a vegetable and plant that is prominent in American cooking, and infuses both cooked and raw dishes with its very special flavor.  When I arrived in America I couldn’t believe how much celery was added to tuna salads, soups, stews, and on plates with peanut butter.  Back...

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Posted by :Lena Struwe on January 31, 2014 at 8:57 am   This post has 7 responses.

FASHION – “Im Sorry, You’re OUT!!!”

NEWSFLASH! Succulents are OUT!!! Gardeners may think they are earthy, practical people – immune to the vagaries of fashion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fashion pervades gardening – plants go in and out of fashion just like red bottom Louboutins. BUT HOLD THE PHONE – surely the...

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Posted by on January 28, 2014 at 11:00 pm   This post has 52 responses.

The Trouble with the Word “Invasive”

This is a long-simmering rant about the many ways the term “invasive” causes confusion, and more.  DO weigh in with alternatives, pushback, and rants of your own. “Invasive” as synonym for “nonnative” Google “native versus invasive” and the 5.6 million hits confirms my observation that this is a common...

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Posted by on January 24, 2014 at 9:12 am   This post has 104 responses.

Stock Photo’s ID Error Leads to Wrong Mutants Singing the Blues

An article published Jan 6, 2014 in The New York Times (‘Mutant Petunias Sing the Blues’) about some exciting new research on the evolution of blue color of some garden petunias was illustrated with this nice photo: This is not a blue petunia, it is a morning glory. Screen...

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Posted by Lena Struwe on January 23, 2014 at 8:46 am   This post has 10 responses.

Batman and Poison Ivy’s Leaves

The weeds and botanical inaccuracies have also entered the world of comics. In 1966, Batman had a new nemesis, Poison Ivy, a botanist turned bad. (Brilliant!, says the botanist and author of this blog.) The poison ivy plant is one of the most obnoxious weeds of North America. Issue...

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Posted by Lena Struwe on January 16, 2014 at 6:16 am   This post has 8 responses.

Eastern Gardener ISO Desert Plants

One of the many press releases coming my way recently was from High Country Gardens, and I found myself wanting all of its new introductions, especially the Salvias.  Loved by hummingbirds but NOT by deer or rabbits!  But then I read this quote from David Salman, the company’s chief horticulturist,...

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Posted by on January 10, 2014 at 11:08 am   This post has 13 responses.

The Joy of Giving: To Seek and to Share a Little Crab Apple

Another season of binge shopping and Bourbon balls has come to an end. Credit cards and waistlines have been stretched. Good luck if you made New Year’s resolutions to make amends for holiday excesses. But don’t worry if your good intentions fall by the wayside before April Fools’ Day....

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Posted by on January 8, 2014 at 5:42 am   This post has 7 responses.

Garden Sage: One of my Signature Plants

Garden sage (Salvia officinalis) was one of the first useful plants I added to my first garden; my goal was to grow enough that I could use it fresh for Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing. Fifteen years later, I’m on my third garden, and though it is brand new this...

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Posted by on December 18, 2013 at 2:48 am   This post has 24 responses.

No tree, no problem

Most years, we have the Christmas tree post here on Rant (here’s a great one); the topic is a source of mild controversy among gardeners, mainly because of the sustainability angle. It breaks down this way: Just buy a cut tree Trees are an agricultural product and buying from...

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Posted by on December 17, 2013 at 9:45 am   This post has 9 responses.

Evil, Frivolous Gardener!!!

I am ruining the world. Because I like pretty plants. Because I practice the dubious art of ornamental gardening. Yes – I admit it. I have planted non-native exotic species in my garden. I have planted them in gardens of others. I am one of those thoughtless, arrogant gardeners...

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 at 1:07 am   This post has 149 responses.

‘Scuse Me While I Drive 35 in a 50

Sorry folks. The sourwood hanging out my open trunk can’t take high winds. I know the speed limit is 50 mph, but it’s just a few miles more, I promise. That’s right, sourwood. Oxydendron arboreum. A dandy little understory tree I’ve been coveting since I became a gardener nearly 20...

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Posted by on November 6, 2013 at 12:41 am   This post has 47 responses.
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