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2012 Olympic flowers—oh so British, and yet …

If you’ve been watching, you probably noticed the Olympic bouquets. At first glance they look rather traditional, though pretty—a tight, colorful bunch of roses. But as is usual with these, there is a story behind the flower choice and where the flowers come from. They include four kinds of roses (which could not be sourced […]

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 at 9:44 am   This post has 6 responses.

I Never Water This

  Okay, so before you get all “you people in California can do anything,” let me just say that we all have our challenges, garden-wise.  Here in Eureka, my challenge is that it never, ever gets warm (today’s temps are high of 62, low of 54, and I am...

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Posted by on August 8, 2012 at 4:19 am   This post has 27 responses.

Small-garden ideas from Thomas Rainer

Boy, when you reveal your garden here on the web, you’d better be prepared for feedback – the honest stuff, not for the thin-skinned.  That’s what I got after I posted photos of my new back yard, via comment and email, and I’m sharing some of the suggestions because...

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Posted by on August 7, 2012 at 7:41 am   This post has 18 responses.

I have grown corn!

A miracle has occurred on the Kansas prairie.  I have, at long last, grown sweet corn in the Flint Hills.  Praise God, and pass the butter and salt! This may not be an earth-shattering accomplishment to many of you from other climes, and perhaps not to any farmer in this area, but...

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Posted by on August 6, 2012 at 7:56 am   This post has 14 responses.

No longer cursing the darkness

Although a meadow of drought-resistant wildflowers would be great, living under the shade of four big maple trees may be the next best thing. At least this year.  This is the first time Garden Walk visitors have complimented me on my shade instead of commiserating. People were talking about...

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 at 9:32 am   This post has 7 responses.

Landscaping with weeds, continued

Though I missed the boat with Bishop’s Weed and Dayflower, having successfully pulled all these out of my yard years ago, I still have some excellent opportunities with Phytolacca americana, which comes up in various places throughout the property. I had been pulling it out, but this year, a...

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Posted by on July 16, 2012 at 8:00 am   This post has 17 responses.

What’s to Become of Single-Plant Societies and Shows?

I recently covered the DC-area Daylily Club Show at a garden center I write for, and did some poking around about how this and other shows and the societies that sponsor them are doing locally and nationally.   I learned that nationally, membership in the American Hemerocallis Society is now...

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Posted by on July 10, 2012 at 7:01 am   This post has 22 responses.

Harnessing the power of the weed

It’s garden walk time in Western New York, where it’s hot, but not too hot to snoop around in other people’s backyards. We have three or four different garden walks in various neighborhoods/suburbs every weekend, culminating in the big Buffalo one at the end of this month. Yesterday, I...

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Posted by on July 9, 2012 at 7:00 am   This post has 10 responses.

The Date Palm Spy Thriller

Guest post by Allen Bush Aside from the Mutiny on the Bounty, where the disgruntled crew tossed breadfruit overboard, I’ve never heard such a High Seas Adventure as the one I learned last month in Israel. My wife Rose and I were on a “Turning Points of History” cruise...

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Posted by on June 23, 2012 at 10:23 am   This post has 6 responses.

Flowers I will never grow

When I first started gardening seriously, about 12 years ago, I made lists of the flowers I’d always loved and wanted to have in my garden. It was kind of a silly list, keeping in mind that, back then, I barely knew the difference between annuals, perennials, and tropicals....

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Posted by on June 18, 2012 at 8:00 am   This post has 19 responses.

Aunt Tilly Needed a Drink

This just in from Jay and Ken at Atlock Farm, a most intriguing place in Somerset, NJ: After some 20 years, perched high above the succulents,in a green houses at Atlock Farm, (in Somerset, New Jersey), much beloved Aunt Tilly, cut loose and unceremoniously plopped to the ground. Owner Ken...

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Posted by on May 23, 2012 at 4:50 am   This post has 5 responses.

In Praise of the Humble Catalpa

Guest post by Allen Bush Catalpas are seldom planted anymore. Mike Dirr notes these relics in his Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs: “Ever ask the local nursery for a catalpa? Chances are it has none to offer. Southern catalpa and related species nearly qualify for dinosaur status in the landscape world.”...

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Posted by on May 8, 2012 at 4:20 am   This post has 24 responses.

And of course, it wouldn’t be May…

…if I didn’t brag about my tulips. This year, I focused on hybrids in containers, as well as in the two round raised beds on the hellstrip. In the containers: Triumphs Prinses Irene and Passionale (these are the ones I brought inside). On the hellstrip: Temple of Beauty (Single...

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm   This post has 9 responses.

The Fence Line

Do gardeners want to put down deep roots, plant trees, and watch them ever so slowly become massive and still presences in the landscapes of their personalities? No, the people who do that are not gardeners. Do gardeners strive to take a slice of earth stuck in this noisy...

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 at 7:02 am   This post has 40 responses.

D.C. Awash in Cherry Blossoms

Washington's new Martin Luther King Memorial sure looks better now than it did last fall when those cherry trees were bare and newly planted and leafless. Really, anything looks better with blooming cherry trees somewhere in view. Thanks to pal Harvey Leifert for uploading these and more of his...

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 at 11:27 am   This post has 5 responses.

Dear Seed Companies: Please Stop Making It So Damn Hard To Love You.

Just look at this amazing, astonishing, beautiful, very unusual new purple tomato.  Does it not fill your heart with lust?  Do you not want to order one of these RIGHT NOW? What?  You don't see it?  Why is that? Because the seed companies make it so damn hard to...

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 at 11:36 am   This post has 10 responses.

Now roses are too hard

"At some point, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. roses will be all you have; the beautiful, unique hybrid teas will be gone."—Charlie Anderson, president of Weeks Roses  This makes me sad. I’m no big fan of hybrid teas, but for me the romance of growing roses includes all...

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 at 6:02 am   This post has 18 responses.

I can have Lilium canadense? Really?

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Franziskas Garten If I hadn’t already put in a sizeable order for these with Brent & Becky’s, I wouldn’t be sharing the news of their new—and startling—availability. The picture in the B&B catalog isn’t the best I’ve seen of these—use Google or Flickr if...

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 at 5:00 am   This post has 15 responses.

Reaching the fifth stage with poinsettias

It never fails. Every year, a plant that I’ve dismissed with contempt in seasons past manages to weasel its way into my good graces by displaying attributes I never seemed to appreciate before. I still don’t like the crazy glittery and painted ones—and fail to see how they’d enhance...

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Posted by on December 19, 2011 at 5:00 am   This post has 11 responses.

Goofy colors of winter

Last year it was honeysuckle pink; this year it’s tangerine tango. Each year Pantone picks a color. This year’s shade, like last year’s, is resolutely loud and brash, notwithstanding the dim socioeconomic climate. The recommendation is aimed at fashionistas and home designers more than gardeners; I'm not saying that...

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Posted by on December 12, 2011 at 4:30 am   This post has 8 responses.
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