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“Nature rewards the bold”

The quote comes from the last words of a recent essay by Umberto Pasti in the New York Times. Many of you will also recognize his inspiration—Fortune favors the brave, a Latin proverb that’s been used as the motto of regiments, clans, battleships, and many other entities. However you say it, I like it as a […]

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Posted by on June 16, 2015 at 8:38 am   This post has 11 responses.

Mad May: No Fury

My excitement for wild plants is as far afield from Mad Max: Fury Road as you can imagine. My best botanizing adventures, by comparison, would be more like an open-air My Dinner with Andre. An afternoon with my plant-obsessed compatriots would bore the bejesus out of most Americans or,...

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Posted by on June 10, 2015 at 7:12 am   This post has 4 responses.

Strategies for a new age

It’s not just what’s happening “out west.” Water management of every kind is a huge issue for everybody, so I have been listening and reading with great interest to all that’s happening around water. On Thursday, as I was driving up to Toronto to attend a truncated version of...

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Posted by on June 8, 2015 at 7:40 am   This post has 6 responses.

A Better Garden Tiller

I like the versatility of my BCS two-wheel tractor with all the different implements it can operate, but if I were shopping for a dedicated garden tiller, I would certainly get the new vertical tine model from Troy-Bilt. Properly known as the “Bronco Axis Vertical Tine Garden Tiller,”  this...

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Posted by on June 4, 2015 at 10:27 am   This post has 4 responses.

A Tale of Two Mulches

When I began making this new garden, I was able to get large quantities of bagged leaves and grass clippings free, so I used them to smother the lawn and to mulch around new plants. This year, I found a source of cheap wood chips, so I am employing...

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Posted by on June 3, 2015 at 2:36 am   This post has 17 responses.

Favorite evergreen natives – Ragwort and Bignonia

Today I’m showing off two plants that are not only native to me in Maryland but share two traits I wish were more common among native – they’re evergreen AND vigorous growers in the garden. First up, the unfortunately named Ragwort, a/k/a Golden Groundsel, officially Packera aurea. Here’s what it looked...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling
Posted by on May 29, 2015 at 7:36 am   This post has 14 responses.

My Favorite Flower Show

  We got tipped-off about Celesta McComas’s flower show last year at Thanksgiving dinner. My wife Rose told Bobbie Ann Mason that we lived, part-time, in Salvisa, KY. Bobbie Ann lives a few miles away in Lawrenceburg. Clearly suffering from separation anxiety, Bobbie Ann confessed that Celesta had moved...

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Posted by on May 27, 2015 at 7:20 am   This post has 11 responses.

Groundcovers Make the Rose Garden

I’m happy to see that (some) rose gardens are looking better these days, thanks to their good-looking and super-performing groundcovers. To my eyes, they cover all sorts of rosebush deficiencies throughout the year.  (Love the blooms; the plants not so much.) Here are some of my favorites, all appearing now...

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Posted by on May 22, 2015 at 7:15 am   This post has 14 responses.

Saving Spiders

Last year, I was organizing my new home and found myself in the bathroom doodad aisle of the local “everything” store, holding a blue glass jar with a fitted glass lid. It was just the type of item I usually talk myself out of buying. Years of decluttering have...

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Posted by on May 20, 2015 at 1:52 am   This post has 22 responses.

It wouldn’t be spring without them

Gardeners give up on tulips for good reasons. They’re prime deer food, coming at a time at the end of winter when I suppose the creatures are extra hungry. The hybrids don’t reliably perennialize, generally faltering and disappearing after two or three years. The foliage is unattractive as it...

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Posted by on May 19, 2015 at 8:30 am   This post has 6 responses.

Scenes from the Georgetown Garden Tour

I recently attended the Georgetown Garden Tour in DC’s toniest neighborhood to find out how the other half gardens spends money on their yards, and naturally I have some comments about all that. Let’s start with the estate above, which was built as a home for the son of...

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Posted by on May 15, 2015 at 7:58 am   This post has 15 responses.

Year Three in my Garden: Are the Perennials Leaping Yet?

You know what they say about perennials – that in year one they sleep, in year two they creep and in year three they finally leap. So let’s see how that’s working out in my new(ish) garden. Even with a small townhouse garden like mine, going lawn-less is much...

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Posted by on May 8, 2015 at 6:41 am   This post has 19 responses.

Two-wheeled tractors

The most useful, and versatile, gardening tool I own is my two-wheel BCS tractor.  This Italian-made tractor was designed for small farms in hilly areas areas where riding on a tractor risks a roll-over, so with a BCS you walk behind the tractor, steering it with handle bars.   It...

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm   This post has 6 responses.

How I Spent My Spring

Spring is always a whirlwind. Here are some things I’ve been doing lately in my 2-year-old garden. Feeling grateful and extremely lucky that the previous owner of this land planted trees decades ago, and now I get to live with them. Planting young trees, looking forward to watching them...

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 at 3:49 am   This post has 6 responses.

Not so smug in a beautiful, hard-won country garden

Of the thirteen-plus acres they own in the exurban wilds of outer Hamburg in Western New York, Mike and Kathy Shadrack garden only about three and a half, but these cultivated areas represent hard-fought victories wrung from continuing struggles with shade, slopes, rocky soil, and hungry animals. The Shadracks’...

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Posted by on May 4, 2015 at 8:31 am   This post has 7 responses.

New Arboretum Director is Everyone’s Choice

The 446-acre treasure in an unloved part of Washington, D.C. that is the National Arboretum has seemed down on its luck these last few years.  It had a short-term director (not a plant person), then several acting directors, and worst of all, a two-year cutback on public hours to just...

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Posted by on May 1, 2015 at 6:20 am   This post has 10 responses.

Fiskers winners!

Congratulations Gail Eichelberger, Sally Maguire, Christopher 41, Erin Ellis, and Susankro. (I used the best/most identifiable name I could find in the comment.) All 5 of you have won your choices of pruner, lopper, or shears. I will be emailing you. Thanks for playing everybody! It was interesting to...

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Posted by on April 28, 2015 at 9:00 am   This post has 4 responses.

Spring prep, gardening on the radio and—a giveaway

When I was asked by our local NPR station to do a series on Buffalo gardens and gardening, of course I was happy to help out (i.e., this is a nonpaying gig, like so many I have). My first segment will be on early garden prep, which is still...

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Posted by on April 28, 2015 at 7:52 am   This post has 66 responses.

From FFA Superstar to Botanic Garden Spokesman

I recently met the new public affairs officer for the U.S. Botanic Gardens and when I found out his degree is in agricultural communications, I had to find out more. Devin Dotson grew up in a small rural town in northwest Alabama, where his family grew their own vegetables...

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Posted by on April 24, 2015 at 8:04 am   This post has 13 responses.

The Theosophic Turtle

Adam Turtle may have been restless at times, but I doubt he has ever struggled much with boredom. The résumé of the Tennessee nurseryman and farmer is not a record of a dull life. Turtle has been “a boy scout, cowboy, fisherman, truck driver, chef, homeless bum, woodworker, sculptor,...

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 at 7:15 am   This post has 4 responses.
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