His Holiness The Dalai Lama with Brother Joshua Brands at Gethsemani in 1996

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 and gardener, was once a Trappist […]

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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.

Tale of a Strawbale Raised Bed

One year, three friends and I decided to make a vegetable garden together. It would be built on one of our properties in the suburbs west of Minneapolis, and all of us would help maintain it and share in the harvest. We built the garden in a mowed area...

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Posted by on January 15, 2014 at 2:54 am   This post has 32 responses.

Slow and local in winter: I grow them myself

Yes, I’ve seen all the winter bouquets that people are creating with seedpods, evergreen foliage, berries, rose hips, pinecones, interesting twigs and so on. Indeed, one of our good friends, Debra Prinzing, is the queen of this movement. The winter arrangements that she and others create are beautiful, and...

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Posted by on January 13, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 6 responses.

Eastern Gardener ISO Desert Plants

One of the many press releases coming my way recently was from High Country Gardens, and I found myself wanting all of its new introductions, especially the Salvias.  Loved by hummingbirds but NOT by deer or rabbits!  But then I read this quote from David Salman, the company’s chief horticulturist,...

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Posted by on January 10, 2014 at 11:08 am   This post has 13 responses.

Wintering Over in the Garden Center

Business is slow.  This is the reason some garden centers here in Massachusetts close until April, but there is so much to do here before then.  In between selling carts of wood and the occasional orchid or pot of paper whites, while we water what’s left of the rosemary...

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Posted by Janet Belding on January 9, 2014 at 6:52 am   This post has 11 responses.

The Joy of Giving: To Seek and to Share a Little Crab Apple

Another season of binge shopping and Bourbon balls has come to an end. Credit cards and waistlines have been stretched. Good luck if you made New Year’s resolutions to make amends for holiday excesses. But don’t worry if your good intentions fall by the wayside before April Fools’ Day....

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Posted by on January 8, 2014 at 5:42 am   This post has 7 responses.

Hey, Pantone! Roy G. Biv called; he wants his rainbow back.

Color trending is silly by definition, but it’s a way to make a living. I have followed Pantone’s (and Color Marketing Group’s) successive “colors of the year” for over a decade now. Every year, a color—with maybe a secondary color—is picked, and then touted among home design and fashion...

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Posted by on January 6, 2014 at 7:54 am   This post has 17 responses.

2013 in my Garden and my Town

Following Elizabeth’s lead, I’m celebrating the year-end with a round-up of the yay’s and boo’s from my garden in its first full year and what’s happening in my adopted town of Greenbelt, Maryland. YAY:  The perennials in my garden are filling in nicely, and where they haven’t, I used...

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Posted by on January 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm   This post has 11 responses.

2013: It was a year

Yay: I finally can have my vegetables and eat them too. A box of local, organically grown food is delivered to our door every week. We can also go out to the farm once in a while and load up on chickens, excess corn, even flowers. The food-growing thing...

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Posted by on December 30, 2013 at 8:45 am   This post has 13 responses.

Merry Christmas from the White House!

From a recent visitor to the  White House, to be more precise.  Yes, that’s me standing beneath the presidential seal (major photo-op), and on the left is the grand north entrance.  If I’d planned ahead and contacted my congressman I could have taken the White House tour with the...

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Posted by on December 25, 2013 at 8:29 am   This post has 3 responses.
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