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After the Storm, Chores

The nor’easter that roared up the East Coast recently dumped another foot of snow on our part of Upstate New York. I found myself struggling through drifts thigh-high to get to my livestock. Our yearling goat, Tanner, stepped out of her shed into snow up to her neck. Her water bucket was completely buried: I […]

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Posted by on March 6, 2014 at 6:14 am   This post has 5 responses.

A Courtyard Garden Promotes Pondering

My understanding of a place dawns slowly. Occasionally I design a garden, and it is a ponderous and effortful activity because it doesn’t come easily to me. This has been brought home to me over and over as I struggle to set out the bones of my new garden....

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Posted by on March 5, 2014 at 3:45 am   This post has 27 responses.

The brand that dares not speak its name

Remember subliminal advertising? One of the books that exposed it is Subliminal Seduction, by Wilson Brian Key. The examples in the book use the eternal themes of sex and death to sell products. According to the book, imagery evoking these two themes appears in advertising (often deliberately inserted), thus...

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 15 responses.

Down with Leylands!

Below, author Ruth Kassinger summarizes a chapter from her new book, A Garden of Marvels, published this week. Tomorrow we’ll have a book review and giveaway. Lately, with heavy snow here in suburban Maryland, I’ve had to keep an eye on my neighbor’s Leyland cypresses that stand in a...

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Posted by Ruth Kassinger on February 27, 2014 at 8:22 am   This post has 12 responses.

This (see photo) will never be me: 10 years of orchid FAIL

It’s not that I’m actually killing them. I can keep the plants alive, no problem. Indeed, I am very proud of my houseplant success in general; I have a huge 13-year-old gardenia that bursts into bloom every summer and a jasmine almost that old that provides lovely fragrance from...

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 17 responses.

Should Community Gardens be Organic-Only? What about Pesticide-Free?

As I recently mentioned here, the community gardeners in my town are fighting – with the treehuggers who don’t want the shade-producing trees nearby removed, and with each other over rules outlawing the use of synthetic gardening products.  And people wonder what’s there to rant about over gardening?  Ha!...

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 at 8:36 am   This post has 15 responses.

Beware of the Wronged Coconuts!

Coconut palms are the quintessential symbol of tropical paradise. Spindly, tall trees with large feathery leaves wisp in tropical breezes on tropical beaches of white sand, under blue sky and by turquoise water. Beach in Hawaii with coconut palm tree. (cc) anda (: on Flickr. Up in the crown...

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Posted by Lena Struwe on February 20, 2014 at 7:05 am   This post has 5 responses.

What I want in 2014

  Pardon the delay in my 2014 wish list. Here it is with one caveat—it’s really more of an impossible dream list. No more bug-of-the-months. There have been way too many overwrought scares about pests. Pests will always be with us. Rather than freak-out attacks on bugs like the...

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Posted by on February 18, 2014 at 7:56 am   This post has 26 responses.

It’s Valentine’s Day. Do You Know Where Your Roses Came From?

Guest Rant by Debra Prinzing Earlier this week, Libby Francis-Baxter, owner of The Modest Florist in Baltimore, made headlines in the local media by announcing her plans for a rose-free Valentine’s Day. “I don’t support outsourcing flower production to South and Central America at the expense of our own...

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Posted by on February 14, 2014 at 7:15 am   This post has 16 responses.

The Runaway Monk

  A memorial service was held for Joshua Brands on a cold, drizzly Friday morning in late November. Julie Breeding, Ken Eberhart, and I drove from Louisville to Bardstown, past the mottled sycamores along Cox’s Creek, and across the rolling countryside speckled with green cedars. Josh, a talented archivist, artist...

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Posted by on February 12, 2014 at 7:37 am   This post has 11 responses.

Succulents are OUT? Oh, No They’re NOT

Guest rant by Debra Lee Baldwin, a rebuttal to Ivette Soler’s rant in which she expressed ennui about succulents and proposed that the plants’ popularity is diminishing. If anyone ought to be sick of succulents, it should be me, having spent a decade studying and photographing them, and twice...

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Posted by Debra Lee Baldwin on February 11, 2014 at 7:39 am   This post has 25 responses.

When good garden writers give bad pruning advice

Yes, ProfessorRoush has not blogged for quite some time.  January has frankly been dismal here in the Flint Hills, and I’ve been leery of planning the return of green and glorious landscapes lest I awaken the wrath of the Winter Gods and precipitate another late April snowstorm. I was rudely roused, however, from...

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Posted by on February 3, 2014 at 6:39 am   This post has 38 responses.

Celery – Stems, Stalks or Sticks?

Celery is a vegetable and plant that is prominent in American cooking, and infuses both cooked and raw dishes with its very special flavor.  When I arrived in America I couldn’t believe how much celery was added to tuna salads, soups, stews, and on plates with peanut butter.  Back...

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Posted by :Lena Struwe on January 31, 2014 at 8:57 am   This post has 7 responses.

FASHION – “Im Sorry, You’re OUT!!!”

NEWSFLASH! Succulents are OUT!!! Gardeners may think they are earthy, practical people – immune to the vagaries of fashion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fashion pervades gardening – plants go in and out of fashion just like red bottom Louboutins. BUT HOLD THE PHONE – surely the...

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Posted by on January 28, 2014 at 11:00 pm   This post has 52 responses.

The Trouble with the Word “Invasive”

This is a long-simmering rant about the many ways the term “invasive” causes confusion, and more.  DO weigh in with alternatives, pushback, and rants of your own. “Invasive” as synonym for “nonnative” Google “native versus invasive” and the 5.6 million hits confirms my observation that this is a common...

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Posted by on January 24, 2014 at 9:12 am   This post has 104 responses.

Stock Photo’s ID Error Leads to Wrong Mutants Singing the Blues

An article published Jan 6, 2014 in The New York Times (‘Mutant Petunias Sing the Blues’) about some exciting new research on the evolution of blue color of some garden petunias was illustrated with this nice photo: This is not a blue petunia, it is a morning glory. Screen...

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Posted by Lena Struwe on January 23, 2014 at 8:46 am   This post has 10 responses.

Catching the Runaway Boy Goat

I could begin this story enumerating all the reasons people told us not to buy goats. They’re always trying to escape. They smell. They’ll jump on your car and wreck it. “Goats get up in the morning thinking of new ways to make your life miserable,” said our friend...

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Posted by on January 21, 2014 at 7:47 am   This post has 5 responses.

Someone, Please, Turn Up the Lights

Every year, I go to my local flower and garden show and contort my body into weird yoga poses that don’t exist. Why? Well, it’s not because I’m stretching (which would probably be good for my back) but because I’m trying to get a good look at the plants...

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Posted by Karen Hugg on January 20, 2014 at 8:36 am   This post has 10 responses.

Sightings at a Trade Show

Every January I attend the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) in Baltimore and even if nothing were new there of interest to me or my imagined readers, I’d love the dose of plants and plant talk and running into people I know.  The show, now in its 44th year,...

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Posted by on January 17, 2014 at 9:19 am   This post has one response.

Batman and Poison Ivy’s Leaves

The weeds and botanical inaccuracies have also entered the world of comics. In 1966, Batman had a new nemesis, Poison Ivy, a botanist turned bad. (Brilliant!, says the botanist and author of this blog.) The poison ivy plant is one of the most obnoxious weeds of North America. Issue...

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Posted by Lena Struwe on January 16, 2014 at 6:16 am   This post has 8 responses.
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