A trendy wish list for 2017

Not having even looked at any of the predictions or surveys regarding general gardening behavior, here is my wishful thinking for the coming year: More six-packs, fewer pricy branded pots I am lucky enough to be able to order interesting new cultivars from the yearly sale our botanical gardens has—and they actually come in 4- […]

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Posted by on January 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm   This post has Comments Off on A trendy wish list for 2017.

Planting for the cause

Many of you have heard that 2017’s “Perennial Plant of the Year” is Asclepias tuberosa/butterfly weed. It’s not a surprising choice—attention to attracting and supporting pollinators, especially butterflies, especially monarchs, has been peaking for the past few years and shows no sign of declining. A good thing. Normally, I...

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Posted by on January 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm   This post has Comments Off on Planting for the cause.

The myth of the plant killer

May 2017 be the year that nobody insists to me that they have a “black thumb.” Except that I know it won’t happen. I was at a small New Year’s Eve party when one of my non-gardening friends asked for advice about an aspidistra (cast iron plant) she’d just...

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Posted by on January 4, 2017 at 3:07 pm   This post has Comments Off on The myth of the plant killer.

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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Posted by on November 14, 2016 at 6:48 pm   This post has Comments Off on Sex Talk at the US Botanic Garden.

Stormwater Management at its Most Beautiful

Ed Snodgrass is the internationally known green-roof author, consultant and grower whose own Maryland nursery experienced downpours gushing downhill, unstopped by mere turfgrass. Of course he was using vegetated roofs, but that wasn’t enough. As Ed wrote me, “Even though the farm is mostly pervious, in high intensity events water...

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Posted by on September 14, 2016 at 7:13 pm   This post has Comments Off on Stormwater Management at its Most Beautiful.

Roses without Chemicals, After Knock Outs

Peter Kukielski speaking at Behnke Nurseries. Meet Peter Kukielski, former curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanic Garden, who suddenly had to give up spraying when the city banned pesticide use on public lands. So he researched disease-resistant roses, which led him to Germany and the roses being...

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Posted by on July 29, 2016 at 7:51 pm   This post has Comments Off on Roses without Chemicals, After Knock Outs.

Ask a Designer: Favorite Shrubs

Cotinus ‘Royal Robe.’ Photo by Barbara Katz. For my first Ask a Designer post the question targeted groundcovers. This time it’s shrubs and I asked another fabulous designer about her favorites. Barbara Katz of London Landscapes in Bethesda, Maryland responded that she has “great respect” for these shrubs. (Here’s some of...

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Posted by on July 6, 2016 at 7:57 pm   This post has Comments Off on Ask a Designer: Favorite Shrubs.

I Aspire to Buffalo-Style Gardening

Elizabeth’s recent post about the new term “Buffalo-style gardening” got me thinking. The style is said to be characterized by gardening not landscaping, man-made objects, and less lawn, but to me there’s more to this, my favorite style of gardening ever. I ‘d add to the list: color and lots of...

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Posted by on June 10, 2016 at 8:08 pm   This post has Comments Off on I Aspire to Buffalo-Style Gardening.

Ask a Designer: What’s a Good Ground Cover for Shade?

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ with Narcissus ‘Thalia’-imp. When a local Yahoo group was asked for ground cover recommendations for shade, these plants were suggested: Ajuga, Hosta, Pachysandra (native and nonnative), Epimedium, and Lily of the Valley, ferns, Hellebore, “some phlox, some carex,” Dicentra (bleeding heart), Sedum ternatum, Tiarella, Acorus,...

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Posted by on June 3, 2016 at 8:18 pm   This post has Comments Off on Ask a Designer: What’s a Good Ground Cover for Shade?.

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

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 4 responses.

#TBT: GardenRant Takes Over the World

Dear readers: We’re fast approaching the 10th anniversary of GardenRant’s arrival on the web – June 13, 2016. So to start the celebrations, we’re posting oldies but goodies – for Throwback Thursday. GardenRant wasn’t announced here, though – no one would have found it on its first day. Co-founder Amy Stewart made...

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Posted by on March 10, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 10 responses.

When The Aster Hitched a Ride

I received a letter from Raydon (pronounced RAYd’n) Alexander 25 years ago. A passalong plant was on the road to distinction. January 15, 1991 Dear Mr. Bush, I am taking the liberty of sending you an aster that should, I think, be more widely distributed. I can see from...

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Posted by on March 9, 2016 at 7:51 am   This post has 12 responses.

Wild means wild

The season is almost upon us here in Western New York. Snowdrops came and went in early February, though I see just a few late bloomers emerging—they might be some fancy hybrids I put in last September. I don’t bother with crocuses, but do expect plenty of lesser-used ephemerals—like...

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Posted by on March 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm   This post has 5 responses.

How to Have a Flowering Lawn

Last week I spotted the first snow crocuses (Crocus chrysanthus) and snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) opening their flowers in my lawn — they are just one of the benefits of the fine fescue grasses that I grow as turf. These grasses are the basis of the “no-mow” lawns that you...

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Posted by on March 7, 2016 at 7:44 am   This post has 9 responses.

It’s the Year of Garden-Park Connections

Have you heard that 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service? Well, here’s the press release, and here’s Find Your Park, a growing collection of stories about people connecting with the parks. (The connection is easy for Michelle Obama – she lives in one, and has...

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Posted by on March 4, 2016 at 9:01 am   This post has 6 responses.

Trump, a Cabbage Palm or Sassafras

I had no idea it was National Margarita Day. A Sanibel Island waitress mentioned it to us a few weeks ago. I was trying to focus on palm trees, but Donald Trump, his outsize ego and disturbing pretense, wouldn’t go away. I ordered a margarita. My aunt and brother-in-law...

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Posted by on March 3, 2016 at 10:29 am   This post has 19 responses.

And then—finally—there was one

When we bought our house twenty-three years ago, what I knew about gardening would not have filled a seed packet. I did know early spring flowers were an antidote for winter blahs, so I planted a big sack of snowdrops under the sugar maple. The blooms would be visible...

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Posted by Joanna Brichetto on March 1, 2016 at 11:49 am   This post has 12 responses.

Garden Flags with Shibori and Permanent Dye

The last time I posted about making garden flags you saw them dyed with Rit and then stenciled with acrylic paints. All 66 flags of them will hang in my front yard and screen my view of a parking lot. There’s another screening problem in my back yard, and this time...

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Posted by on February 26, 2016 at 12:34 pm   This post has 12 responses.

European Garden Travels with Carolyn

If I ever go on a European garden tour, I’ll choose one that features gardens that are interesting to American gardeners and designers and about gardening today, not the usual tour of gardens that are over 100 years old. It might be a tour designed and led by garden...

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Posted by on February 19, 2016 at 8:35 am   This post has 2 responses.
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