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Report from New Zealand: How Plants Survived Moa Birds, and More

Scott Aker, head of gardens at the National Arboretum, toured New Zealand over the winter – their summer – with his teenage son, who must have been raised with a high tolerance for hort-speak because from the looks of Scott’s slide show, it was a plant-centric journey. Scott certainly put to shame my own puny […]

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Posted by on May 6, 2016 at 6:32 am   This post has 4 responses.

#TBT The great compost tea debate

In June, 2007, we hosted a debate between horticultural professor Jeff Gillman (author of many books, including The Truth Abut Garden Remedies and The Truth About Organic Gardening) and garden writer Jeff Lowenfels, the co-author of Teaming with Microbes. The topic was compost tea, and this is the first...

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Posted by on May 5, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has Comments Off on #TBT The great compost tea debate.

Who uses landscape fabric and why?

Last fall I had the idea of doing something nice for the rather boring and minimalist plantings outside my office. The building itself is great—an 85k-square-foot former railway signal factory (circa 1904–6) that has been repurposed into a mixed use complex including our offices, residential units above, banquet spaces,...

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Posted by on May 3, 2016 at 11:54 am   This post has 19 responses.

#TBT: Garden Guy, will work for Heteros Only

Landscapers refusing to work for LGBTs? Back in November 2006. when this was published, you bet, and the legality of doing that hasn’t changed. Indeed—note  recent legislation passed in North Carolina and other states—this kind of discrimination is still in play and often legal. It was Elizabeth, blogging then at Gardening...

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Posted by on April 28, 2016 at 7:18 am   This post has 10 responses.

Slices of Spring and Steak

I’ve been on the clock of Jelitto Perennial Seeds for nearly 21 years. I peddle perennial seeds (over 3,500 different items), but from time to time, with my colleagues there, I enjoy the pleasure of wildflowers, gardens, nurseries and even a good steak. It is a great gig. Georg...

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Posted by on April 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm   This post has 12 responses.

The tulip graveyard

It’s nice, as graveyards go. Colorful bulbs—species tulips, grape hyacinth, narcissus, erythronium—flourish in it throughout the later spring, followed by lush plantings of shade perennials—Solomon’s seal, ghost fern, bugbane (actea), brunnera, hellebores, and, of course, plenty of hosta. It’s unlikely that the casual passer-by could begin to imagine the...

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Posted by on April 26, 2016 at 7:59 am   This post has 5 responses.

Setting the Pace

What a great Spring it has been here in Boise — alternating periods of rain and sun, almost as if Mother Nature knew what the newly emerging and recently planted plants needed for optimal growth. The trees and shrubs are mostly leafed out, and the bumble bees just appeared...

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Posted by on April 20, 2016 at 11:29 am   This post has 7 responses.

See you in the Twin Cities?

By now, many of you must have heard about the yearly garden blogger get-togethers that have been running since 2008. Pam Penick of Digging got it started; the first one took place in Austin, which is home to great gardens and—at that time, anyway—quite a cohort of garden bloggers....

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Posted by on April 19, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 3 responses.

Plant Shopping Dos and Don’ts

Plant-shopping is a hobby for most addicted gardeners, but it’s also a craft. Years ago, when I wanted to sharpen my skills, I consulted with the buyer for a busy Long Island landscape installation company; this company depended for its reputation on installing only first class plants. The buyer...

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Posted by on April 18, 2016 at 9:41 am   This post has 9 responses.

#TBT: Plant Lust

Here’s a May, 2007 post from Garden Rant co-founder Amy Stewart, in which she speaks of a situation that has only grown in significance since when this was posted. Gardeners Like Us are naturally suspicious of “branded” plants, particularly when that brand has a hokey name like Proven Winners. ...

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Posted by on April 14, 2016 at 6:46 am   This post has 8 responses.

Rosemary Up the Ass and the Stinking Hellebore

  Mary Vaananen, a Jelitto Perennial Seeds colleague, emailed sad news on my first day in Florence, Italy. Judith Tyler had died. Jude was a longtime friend. She and her husband, Dick, grew hellebores at their Pine Knot Farms in Clarksville, Virginia. For the next two days, I staggered around...

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Posted by on April 13, 2016 at 7:04 am   This post has 8 responses.

Wildflowers—learning to settle

A Facebook post from Rant partner Allen Bush got me thinking about wildflowers—not that we’ve been seeing too many flowers outside of any type here in Western New York. Now is the spring of our discontent: after a semi-glorious winter that had temps frequently breaking into the sixties and...

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Posted by on April 12, 2016 at 7:54 am   This post has 12 responses.

#TBT: Yardening is not a word

This April 2007 post from me got some interesting comments, including a very nice response from Jeff Ball, who (we think)  invented the phrase. By the way, I entered “yardening” into a Shutterstock (the stock photo servive we use) search and got a bunch of images from yarden, Israel...

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Posted by on April 7, 2016 at 7:34 am   This post has 5 responses.

Showing Off My Grandplants

One marker of true success for me as a gardener, a situation in which I feel I’ve received a “gold star” from Nature, is when a plant I’ve placed in the garden produces an offspring. Ecologically, this doesn’t necessarily mean I picked the perfect spot for that plant. A...

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Posted by on April 6, 2016 at 2:55 am   This post has 5 responses.

An irresistible DIY book

I am the last person who should be writing about DIY projects. As far as the house is concerned, we have to have contractors for everything, including minor fixture installations and any painting. We build nothing. We fix nothing. What cleaning is needed gets done every two weeks by...

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Posted by on April 5, 2016 at 8:33 am   This post has Comments Off on An irresistible DIY book.

Perils of Plantsmanship

Recently I went to a lecture at the New York Botanical Garden by Italian garden designer Luciano Giubbilei. His passion was infectious and his images were ravishing – spectacular gardens composed of just a handful of elements. This was a message that particularly resonated with me, as I’ve become...

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Posted by on April 4, 2016 at 10:43 am   This post has 19 responses.

Garden Flag Reveal!

My most recent post about garden flags included muslin garden flags that I tie-dyed and the promise to show readers what they look like hanging in my garden, where they’re supposed to not just look pretty but screen some bad views. So here’s the view from my back garden toward the...

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Posted by on April 1, 2016 at 6:45 am   This post has 11 responses.

#TBT: Jerry Baker, Still Quacking

Susan first ranted about home remedy-hawker Jerry Baker (“America’s Master Gardener”) on her own blog in March of 2006, and it was that rant that caught the attention of Amy Stewart and Michele Owens, who were then scheming about a team blog. Here’s Susan’s July 30, 2006 follow-up post...

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Posted by on March 31, 2016 at 8:36 am   This post has 4 responses.

#TBT What’s Invasive? Telling People What They Can’t Plant In Their Yards

The debate over invasive species won’t go away any time soon. We’re sure that many would still have issues with Rant co-founder Michele Owens views on flag iris and other problem plants. This post is from July, 2009. I have very strong ideas about how a civilized society behaves. ...

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Posted by on March 24, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 34 responses.

The Payoff

For wildlife gardeners — including those who want to support pollinators — certain plants promise a bigger payoff. Shrubs are one category of plant that often deliver more rewards for less effort. They are larger than a perennial and can produce many more blooms per plant. Since they are...

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Posted by on March 16, 2016 at 2:31 am   This post has 5 responses.
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