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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 my winter slumber on a recent […]

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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.

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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!...

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Posted by on July 11, 2013 at 7:23 am   This post has 12 responses.
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