This is the dominant native plant community in Southern California. It is beautiful, but it is not a garden.

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 who have a palette that includes […]

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
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...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by on November 6, 2013 at 12:41 am   This post has 47 responses.

Top mostest

Last month, an industry magazine ran a list of the plants it considered the Top Ten Most Influential Varieties. Collective shrug. (And I am not sure “most” is needed.) Lists like these may not mean much to home gardeners, who often aren’t as concerned with long-term viability, and don’t...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 23, 2013 at 7:34 am   This post has 6 responses.

Native Plants are a Moral Choice

Guest Rant by Benjamin Vogt It’s late July and I’ve finally seen my first monarch butterfly, but only after the Liatris ligulistylis started blooming. This is a very, very late start. In 2010 I raised 200 from egg to wing, then in 2011 a solid 150, last year only...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 20, 2013 at 7:19 am   This post has 130 responses.

Battle of the freebies

In May I received a box of plants from Proven Winners—mainly calibrachoa and verbena, in pinks, blackberry, and purple. I also received several flats of homegrown seedlings from a neighbor, intended for the public planters of Allentown. After finishing the planters, I had leftovers—zinnias, tall ageratum, petunias, coleus, and...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on September 16, 2013 at 9:18 am   This post has 5 responses.

Weeds of Affection and Perpetual Annoyance

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” –Eeyore Mulberry weed is an unwelcome guest that I can’t shake loose. The trouble is: the Mulberry weed doesn’t travel alone. I’d like to get rid of them all, but there is no end to mulberry weed. In a...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on August 29, 2013 at 7:22 am   This post has 18 responses.

Finding Native-Plant Beauty in the Bronx

While I was visiting New York City earlier this month I didn’t JUST visit the High Line.  Also on my agenda was the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, about which I’d read so much when it opened this spring.  It was designed by DC-area landscape...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Gardening on the Planet, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on August 23, 2013 at 7:47 am   This post has 9 responses.

Knocked Out—and not in a good way

I suppose that I should have expected it. Once ‘Knock Out’ roses became ubiquitous in the suburban landscapes of America and moved beyond usefulness to cliché, I should have known that this paradigm-changing rose was inevitably destined to be even more misused, abused, and perverted; that it would be used in manners so hideous as to defy the imaginations...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on August 19, 2013 at 7:39 am   This post has 33 responses.

Double lilies—what do we think?

Late summer flowers are hard to come by around here. Dahlias and zinnias don’t do well in my conditions, so in August I get by with roses, rudbeckia, buddleia, phlox, the ever-blooming hydrangeas, and plenty—plenty!—of annuals. By this time of year, the only lilium blooming in my garden are...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on August 12, 2013 at 7:05 am   This post has 15 responses.

The Attack of the Himalayan Blackberry

I’ve almost staunched the bleeding. The crimson crosshatches etched across my forearms don’t sting much, but they look impressive.  I was just practicing some close quarter combat with that tasty rascal of the Pacific Northwest, perhaps our yummiest weed, nature’s barbed wire, your friend and mine: the Himalayan Blackberry!...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on July 11, 2013 at 7:23 am   This post has 12 responses.

Unsung anti-heroes

No one will be surprised that I was seduced by the beguiling rhetoric of Plant Delights owner Tony Avent when I ordered this plant (above): We were thrilled to find yet another in the overlooked genus boehmeria that makes a great garden specimen. The deciduous Boehmeria platanifolia makes a...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on July 8, 2013 at 6:55 am   This post has 7 responses.

Why Is This Woman Writing About Tulips Now?

I am at least a month late to be doing this post, and everybody sensible forgot about his or her tulips long ago.  But not me.  They were particularly astonishing this spring, probably because I planted them in such a fog of misery last fall, I don’t even remember...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on July 2, 2013 at 5:59 am   This post has 32 responses.

Red on red

Interesting how some years are perfect for roses. That is what I’m hearing about 2013. We had a “normal” winter, with no premature heat wave, and we’re having a fairly wet late spring. That equals rose success, apparently. Here (above) is a red climber that came with the house....

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on June 18, 2013 at 9:07 am   This post has 5 responses.

Plants we Love to Hate

My recent post about Anne Raver loving to hate Impatiens got me wondering what plants I’d put in that category – not just hating but loving to hate.  And what’s the difference?  Does loving to hate mean you seek out examples, then Facebook them to share the hate?  Help...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on June 14, 2013 at 10:27 am   This post has 94 responses.

Planted ‘em anyway

Take it from a gardener whose entire front “yard” is 100% dry shade for the entire summer; you don’t relinquish a reliable source of continuous color without a fight. So when the local botanical gardens offered some old-fashioned semi-double impatiens through their annual plant sale, I ordered a few...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on June 3, 2013 at 7:29 am   This post has 7 responses.

Purple leaves me crabby

Please listen to ProfessorRoush:  you must plan your garden carefully rather than submit to the whims of spontaneous plant purchases and spectacular momentary blooms!  Science suggests that in an infinite number of parallel universes, almost anything can happen. I’m sure, therefore, that somewhere out in the gardening universe, there exists a gardener who plans...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 27, 2013 at 8:13 am   This post has 30 responses.

Roses redux

My struggles with roses have entered their final phase: reconciliation. After getting rid of all the boring Meidiland shrubs that came with the house (though for their kind, they were nice enough), I experimented with a few old rose cultivars as well as some Carefree varieties. Nothing really thrived...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 14, 2013 at 8:33 am   This post has 14 responses.

Tulips in pots—works for me!

For the past 8 years or so, I have been filling up pots with tulips at the same time I do my October in-ground bulb plantings. Species tulips and other small bulbs like erythronium go in the ground, and the big hybrid tulips go into pots and a couple...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on May 6, 2013 at 10:37 am   This post has 8 responses.

Bedding Your Plants

Guest Rant by Geoff Lewis I would like to speak to the curious sport of bedding plants. Bedding plants – you know, big pansies, dwarf marigolds and their ilk. One’s vision is of an orgiastic colour melee: Vast flocks of the vegetative equivalent of Pekinese and/or Schitzu-Poodle crosses (schit-poos)...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on April 30, 2013 at 10:09 am   This post has 11 responses.

The Run for the Roses is Really About Mint

Thousands of red tulips have been planted in the Churchill Downs paddock and winner’s circle for this year’s Kentucky Derby. They were shipped from Holland months ago.  Nearly 500 red roses will arrive from South America a few days before the race (the first Saturday in May) and be...

Read more in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on April 26, 2013 at 8:02 am   This post has 5 responses.
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