Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Kelly Norris photo.

The Planetary Style and Wisdom of Norris, Clément and Lacy

We had heavy rains this Christmas season, with eerily warm temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The Salt River was swollen, while winter jasmines and even a few Asian cherries were in full bloom. The Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, delivered on a long-held promise to bloom on Christmas Day. My former neighbor, Paul McKinney, would […]

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Posted by on January 13, 2016 at 7:46 am   This post has 6 responses.

Are show gardens making us bad gardeners?

Here’s an interesting debate. Late in December, a post published on the American Society of Landscape Architects website by David Hopman opened an attack on unsustainable, resource/labor-intensive approaches to planting design and plant palettes, particularly in big public gardens. I agree with a lot of the post—after all, Hopman...

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Posted by on January 7, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 20 responses.

Neither an Influencer nor a Follower be

Guest Rant by Marianne Willburn Though I enjoy dressing well, I’m no fashionista.  For the most part, I can ignore the “collar in or out this season?” “jeans high or low?” “fly up or down?” as I’m usually wearing heavy boots and dusted all over with the full body...

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Posted by Marianne Willburn on January 5, 2016 at 12:02 pm   This post has 6 responses.

My Year in Garden Visits

Posting on New Year’s Day is my excuse to share photos of some gardens I visited in 2015, shots not previously shown here on GardenRant. First, the fabulous Garden Blogger Fling in Toronto included everyone’s favorite modern garden, above. Flingers also admired this back garden we stumbled upon. In 2016...

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Posted by on January 1, 2016 at 9:26 am   This post has 10 responses.

Resolving to become a better naturalist

They knew where to go for the first of everything: the first snowdrops, the first catkin, primroses, violets, forget-me-nots, wild roses, honeysuckle. These flowers appeared in turn on the nursery sills almost as soon as they appeared in the woods and fields. —The Priory, Dorothy Whipple  “I should fall...

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 at 7:57 am   This post has 19 responses.

The Master Logger and the Hay Rake in the Walnut Tree

  There is an abandoned fencerow on our Salvisa, Kentucky, farm. It’s marked clearly. A dozen black walnut trees Juglans nigra grow in a straight line, running up a small hill toward the rising sun. A generation ago, squirrels stored thousands of walnuts and forgot about them. The trees,...

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 at 8:36 am   This post has 7 responses.

Post-solstice meander

This post is the first of several looking back/moving forward surveys—a process I always enjoy at this time of year. Although it’s been unusually mild—so much so that I think I may finally get to clearing out some weedy areas behind the house—it’s therapeutic to look back on the...

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Posted by on December 22, 2015 at 10:02 am   This post has 3 responses.

Prayer Flags in My Garden

Does your garden have a focal point you’d rather not see, one that’s not on your property so you can’t change it? I do – a neighbor’s storage area – but co-op rules prevent me from blocking it with, say, a lattice, and the space is far too small...

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Posted by on December 18, 2015 at 7:39 am   This post has 12 responses.

Garden Ephemera

During this season of relative cold and darkness, I experience my garden in brief increments of time. I may take a brisk stroll through it on a windy day, or spend half an hour basking in a lawnchair during a calm, sunny afternoon, or work an hour here and...

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 at 3:45 am   This post has 8 responses.

Sticker shock

Raise your hand if you enjoy spending up to half an hour removing adhesive stickers from ceramic pots. No hands up? What a surprise. I have upgraded my game a bit for bulb forcing and no longer use the cheap (but not unattractive) Home Depot pots. One thing I’ll...

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Posted by on December 15, 2015 at 7:25 am   This post has 9 responses.

Where Environmentalism Meets Public Health

Meet environmental activist Robert Zarr, shown here in a park in downtown D.C. He’s dressed for cycling because he rides his bike to work; his family as been car-free for 15 or so years. But what makes him an environmental activist isn’t cycling or his other outdoor pursuits; it’s...

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Posted by on December 11, 2015 at 8:07 am   This post has Comments Off on Where Environmentalism Meets Public Health.

The Conquest of Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu

Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu was toppled before first frost. A vital part of our garden has become a dog run.  Gone are the scree beds, replaced by sod. Rufus now rules the roost. Putt-Putt at Machu Picchu, conceived fifteen years ago by my good friend, the talented landscape architect...

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Posted by on December 9, 2015 at 7:23 am   This post has 12 responses.

An Osage expose

Osage orange fruit. Hedge apples. Monkey brains. Maclura pomifera. Yellow-green, squiggly, hairy spheres the size of grapefruits. If these are underfoot on a fall hike, I guarantee someone will mention the purported insect and/or spider repellant properties of an Osage orange. Rumor has it that a few of these bowling balls...

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Posted by Joanna Brichetto on December 7, 2015 at 7:56 am   This post has 16 responses.

Making my peace with poinsettias

As you can  imagine, many of my most passionate rants are years in the past, back when we started. You can only inveigh against lawn culture, shake your fist against Big Chem, or rage about cheap resin statuary so many times. Then there the things I’ve ranted against that...

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Posted by on December 1, 2015 at 9:03 am   This post has 20 responses.

Perennials that won’t tolerate leaf mulches

In a recent post, Evelyn Hadden shared some very useful tips on how fall’s leaves can be used in the garden.   As a perennial enthusiast, I’d like to add a couple of caveats – a mulch of autumn leaves can be fatal to certain kinds of perennials. A mulch...

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Posted by on November 28, 2015 at 11:54 am   This post has 12 responses.

Watering tools I love, and why I hate the others

In honor of a day that doesn’t deserve it (the horrid Black Friday), here are some gift suggestions for the gardener on your list or your own list of wants. All my favorite gardening tools seem to be watering-related, and here are three that I recommend to anyone who’ll...

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 at 8:24 am   This post has 27 responses.

Gratitude, like gardening, is good for you

As I just heard on an NPR report yesterday, being thankful is not just the thing to do at this time of year, gratitude actually has real health benefits, including reducing the possibility of heart disease. Well, I’m all for that! So here goes: I’m thankful that I live...

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 at 9:46 am   This post has 9 responses.

In the Time of the Long Shadows

Fall. A time of the year I love and hate. Love most of the weather. Love the clear blue sky and bright orange autumn leaves. Love the way it makes me want to start nesting. Hate the shorter days. Hate the weather on days that are cold and damp....

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Posted by Irvin Etienne on November 23, 2015 at 8:04 am   This post has 5 responses.

Fall and Rebirth

Autumn is a sad yet beautiful season in my garden.  It brackets the anniversaries of my son’s life:  his birth in late fall and his death at age 18 at fall’s beginning.   I think of him often at this time of year but especially in the garden, which is...

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Posted by on November 19, 2015 at 10:51 am   This post has 9 responses.

Six Ways to Use Fallen Leaves in Your Garden

Got leaves? Use them to boost your garden’s soil and plant health, facilitate the design and creation of new planting beds, turn problem areas into productive ones, and save yourself labor and money, all while doing the green thing. Here are six rewarding, practical alternatives to raking leaves into...

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Posted by on November 18, 2015 at 4:58 am   This post has 14 responses.
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