mcmnsion5

The Landscapes of McMansion Hell

For making me laugh while I learn, I LOVE the architecture critic Kate Wagner and her highly opinionated blog McMansion Hell. Who could resist her “Pringles Can of Shame ™” award in the photo above? So I recommend McMansion Hell for making me laugh and for educating me with “What the Hell is Modern Architecture?,” the “Pictorial History […]

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Everybody's a Critic
Posted by on December 30, 2016 at 7:56 am   This post has 22 responses.

At the closing of the year

In our region, the end of the year corresponds rather neatly with the end of the gardening season. Yesterday (Boxing Day), I was texting with a friend who was taking advantage of the freakishly balmy temps to finally getting some bulbs planted I had given him. He wanted to...

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Read related articles in: Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 27, 2016 at 10:37 am   This post has 5 responses.

Garden Flags and Bird Feeders: Failures and Fixes

I’ve complained before about the hassle of bird feeders in my tiny townhouse garden, where the shit-stained baffle isn’t doing the job of keeping squirrels away as these world-class gymnasts simply vault from anything nearby to the feeder. I then complained that hummingbird feeders are too much of a commitment for...

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Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on December 23, 2016 at 7:14 am   This post has 11 responses.

A Better Way With Weeds

I have a love/hate relationship with weeds. Perhaps love is too strong a term, but I do greatly admire the persistence of weeds and the role they play in preserving disturbed soils. Indeed, a number of years ago, I wrote an article for The New York Times Sunday Magazine...

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Read related articles in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 20, 2016 at 8:57 am   This post has 2 responses.

How to Recommend Plants with Video

Searching the Internet for good gardening videos for over a year now, I’ve come to lament their dearth in one major category – ornamental plants. Thanks to Extension universities and a few media-savvy experts, there’s plenty of help for new veg-growing gardeners, but if you want to beautify your...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on December 16, 2016 at 8:36 am   This post has 7 responses.

Embracing the ephemeral

During the Western New York growing season, my focus is (mostly) on keeping plants alive and viable for seasons to come. I weed, prune, and nourish perennials and shrubs that I hope will become stalwart landscape features. The idea is to create garden areas that won’t need replacing every...

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 12, 2016 at 9:18 am   This post has 2 responses.

Get your Holiday-Decorating Videos Right Here

My numero uno project these days is reviewing and collecting good gardening videos, as I might have mentioned here a few times (ahem). And to be on-trend (oh, always!), we’ve gone looking for some that demonstrate how to make holiday decorations out of (mainly) plants, and found these 14. If you’re...

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Watch Someone Else Do It
Posted by on December 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm   This post has Comments Off on Get your Holiday-Decorating Videos Right Here.

Ask a Designer: Deer-Proof Perennials

Next up in our “Ask a Designer” series is designer Claire Jones  in Maryland. How many times do you visit a garden center and get overwhelmed with the many choices that entice with gorgeous foliage and blooms? And you impulse buy the “flavor of the month” perennial that the garden center...

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Read related articles in: Guest Rants, It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by Claire Jones on December 8, 2016 at 8:54 am   This post has 2 responses.

A Belated Goodbye

One of the basic rules of gardens is that if you leave, you don’t return. In this respect, I have found, involvement with a garden is like a love affair.   A crucial part of making a success of the experience is having the clarity to know when it is...

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Read related articles in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on December 5, 2016 at 9:35 am   This post has 5 responses.

Red-Free Holiday Decorations!

Same-old holiday decorations, dominated by your basic Crayola red, give me the bah-humbugs faster than “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on repeat play. So the holiday display that opened yesterday at the U.S. Botanic Garden is a relief and a respite for this perennial Scrooge because red seems to have been...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, What's Happening
Posted by on November 25, 2016 at 8:47 am   This post has 4 responses.

Sex Talk at the US Botanic Garden

I returned last week to the U.S. Botanic Garden for another lesson in plant morphology, but this one was a bit sexier than the foliage talk I posted about here. This time, Dr. Susan Pell talked flowers and her audience quickly caught on that this talk would be R-rated. Early one...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on November 18, 2016 at 8:05 am   This post has 5 responses.

#TBT: Top ten houseplants, according to me

It’s houseplant time, at least in the northerly zones. So it seems like a good time to repeat this post from November 2008. I think I pretty much agree with this list, except maybe the sansevieria and the spathiphyllum, both of which I’ve gotten sick of. And I think...

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Read related articles in: Garden Rant turns 10
Posted by on November 17, 2016 at 9:32 am   This post has 6 responses.

My Tiny Oak Forest

  The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. –Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m not giving into global warming or to Donald Trump. I’m planting acorns. I won’t live to see my oaks grow into a thick forest canopy, but time’s a wasting. Regardless of the president-elect’s head-in-the-sand...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
Posted by on November 16, 2016 at 7:20 am   This post has 9 responses.

The bad leaf advice—it’s baaack!

It’s that time of year again—gardeners are getting silly advice from the Wildlife Federation and other nature-centric organizations about why they should try to leave their leaves in place to provide wildlife habitat and “natural mulch.” Many gardening columnists and Facebookers are picking up the NWF’s 2014 “Leave the...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on November 15, 2016 at 9:50 am   This post has 13 responses.

Aunt Rose’s Garden

The sun rose along the Potomac River on Monday morning and swept across a canopy of bright fall colors. Quickly reaching the huge silver maple, along the fenced property line, then swung straight down the middle of Aunt Rose’s long, narrow Georgetown garden. Nothing momentous had happened overnight. The...

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Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on November 9, 2016 at 12:20 pm   This post has 3 responses.

Stone Moving

“Old School” That is how a man from the local quarry described my methods of lifting and moving stones. I use no machinery more complicated than a pair of wooden timbers – “shears” – lashed together with hemp rope, and a block and tackle or, at most, a “come-along,”...

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Read related articles in: Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on November 7, 2016 at 9:45 am   This post has 5 responses.

The HORROR (II)

Halloween could not be better timed in terms of horticultural nightmares for the Western New York gardener. It’s a wet, gray time; leaves are falling, perennial foliage is shriveling, and outdoor tasks are undertaken in an atmosphere of chilly reluctance. Welcome to my world of fright and despair. Ugh...

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 at 10:21 am   This post has 6 responses.

Turning a City Corner into a Garden

I got really tired of looking at this weedy corner, just a block from my home. A city-owned spot, it was filled with poison ivy, English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, and volunteer shrubs impeding driver visibility. So in August I began The Great Clean-up, which yielded a ginormous pile of...

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Read related articles in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 28, 2016 at 8:56 am   This post has 11 responses.

This is the other thing I like about David Austin roses

On Saturday, my stylist was showing me her long hedge of Knock Outs (various colors, don’t know the type) in front of her house and I have to admit I was a bit jealous. She then remarked that she needed to “cut them all back,” and I tried to...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on October 25, 2016 at 9:41 am   This post has 4 responses.

We have a winner!

Congratulations, Chris Bosacki! I will be contacting you via email. Thanks for playing, everybody! Some great tips, too, like: -planting grape hyacinths, which throw out a few green leaves in fall, as a reminder not to dig up existing bulbs -plant a wall of daffodils around a tulip bed...

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Posted by on October 20, 2016 at 8:02 am   This post has Comments Off on We have a winner!.
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