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Awesome Annuals in the Smithsonian Gardens

Everyone loves the Smithsonian museums on D.C.’s National Mall, but gardener-tourists also love their gardens.  Here’s a sampling from mid-October, when I particularly admired (and will copy!) their use of annuals. By email, the Smithsonian’s supervisory horticulturist Jonathan Kavelier told me that “These plantings also include Amaranthus and Cuphea, as well as many other annuals […]

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 at 7:36 am   This post has 20 responses.

The anti-pink

  Regardless of whatever Pantone has decided, I declare orange to be the color of 2013.  It needs to be, because I somehow ordered 500 orange/orange-red tulips.  Maybe more—hard to say how some of the multi-colored species types will turn out. Let’s see—we have Prinses Irene, Orange Princess, Christmas...

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 at 7:31 am   This post has 16 responses.

End of an era

Two springs ago, a pruning mishap (not mine) caused our huge wisteria to come crashing down from its garage-roof empire. We cut it back to a six-foot-high stump, cleaned up what looked like a tree’s-worth of debris, and waited, in hopes that we could train it back into viability....

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Posted by on October 15, 2012 at 8:35 am   This post has 8 responses.

Wilson Pickett and the Pink Rose

I owe my love of pink flowers to Wilson Pickett. The rhythm and blues singer was my high school cosmic everything. Teenage boys often feel they are irrelevant. Or at least they once did. In the mid-60s, I played a white soul man to prove the point. When I...

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Posted by on September 20, 2012 at 7:33 am   This post has 8 responses.

Let the bulbs begin

Who the hell knows what kind of winter we’ll be having in this formerly snow-identified corner of New York, but there will certainly be a few months of dormancy. This is what bulb season is for. It’s the closest I can get to real gardening (other than houseplant maintenance)...

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Posted by on September 17, 2012 at 10:05 am   This post has 6 responses.

Horticultural Cowboys

  Guest Post by Allen Bush Willie Nelson warns, in his song of the same name, “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…”   Then he offers a way out: “Make ‘em lawyers and doctors and such.” Willie, I have a better idea. Make ‘em gardeners and...

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 at 7:18 am   This post has 13 responses.

I’m Dreaming of a Black Garden

I never thought I’d have the patience or the fortitude to plant a themed garden, but all the sudden I’m thinking about a very dark garden.  Ironically, dark gardens need a lot of light:  my ‘Black Lace’ sambucus goes green in the shade but gets very dark in the...

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Posted by on August 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm   This post has 26 responses.

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...

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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.
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