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House and Garden Porn from a Spring Tour

Last weekend I returned to my former home town, Takoma Park, MD, for their spring tour and left with one big take-away – that good-looking gardens are easier to achieve when they surround great-looking homes.  And Takoma is known for its gorgeous housing stock of Victorians and bungalows and yes, I miss seeing them.  Curb […]

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Posted by on May 9, 2014 at 7:07 am   This post has 10 responses.

Sights and Sounds from the Porch I Finally Have

Recorded this morning from my favorite chair, which I’ll be using lots more when it gets buggy here in Maryland.

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Posted by on May 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm   This post has 8 responses.

That “New Plant” Experience

It is a joy to grow certain plants for the memories they invoke and the anticipation of their familiar scent, sight, taste, and other beloved qualities, as well as the pleasure of seeing them expand and perhaps self-propagate in our gardens. However, it is an equally delightful experience to...

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Posted by on May 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm   This post has 8 responses.

The Smiling Faces of Spring

SPRING!!! I am traveling to Brooklyn to do some garden business, and to see what spring looks like after a long, long winter. I am amazed at the pep in everyone’s step! Living for so long in Southern California, one takes the endless summer/spring for granted – but NOBODY...

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Posted by on May 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm   This post has one response.

U.S. Botanic Garden ISO Executive Director

After 14 years at its helm, Holly Shimizu is leaving the U.S. Botanic Garden this week, retiring to a life of…to be determined.  (Wild guess – some gardening, and somehow pursuing her passion for conservation.)  She tells me there will be a national search for her replacement, so spread...

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Posted by on April 29, 2014 at 8:19 am   This post has 3 responses.

Stop Tilling Your Vegetable Garden!

Guest Rant by Megan Cain I get why you till. There’s something in all of us gardeners that leaps with joy when we see a freshly tilled bed. That rich, dark, blank canvas beckons us to come on over and work our vegetable magic. We imagine ourselves gently planting...

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Posted by Megan Cain on April 10, 2014 at 7:30 am   This post has 22 responses.

Can a Video Attract Garden Visitors?

I’ve long had the notion that somehow short, viral-going videos showing the fabulousness of a garden that’s open to the public might increase visitorship – and thereby support for the garden.  And here in the D.C. area the poster child for a fabulous garden that could use some support...

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Posted by on April 4, 2014 at 9:06 am   This post has 24 responses.

Spring Fever

As the garden wakes up, I find I spend more time in that stock-still, mesmerized state that, let’s face it, is the point of all this garden work. Though planting, caring for the plants, and editing them all have their satisfactions, being absorbed in the garden is my favorite...

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Posted by on April 2, 2014 at 4:01 am   This post has 8 responses.

Learning my Place from Nature’s Graveyard

by Dr. Amanda Morris Splintered fence. Shattered shrubs. Shredded trunks. And pine needles. Everywhere, pine needles. Destruction with the scent of Christmas. As I made my way into the barely accessible remains of yard, gingerly pulling back heavy pine branches to expose anything left visible, I touched a ripped...

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Posted by Amanda Morris on March 27, 2014 at 7:36 am   This post has 11 responses.

Digging into the Archive of American Gardens

I’m not sure I totally grasp the content of the Smithsonian’s Archive of American Gardens but here’s what I gather so far, from a talk I heard on the subject and digging into their website. A big honking collection of garden photos was donated to the Smithsonian by the...

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Posted by on March 21, 2014 at 9:01 am   This post has 5 responses.

Poppies for Memories

Since I moved to Idaho, my sister and mom and their friends and my friends have been generously donating plants to fill my new garden beds. (Gardeners are the nicest people.) This week, I’m transplanting poppies from my sister. I’m planting them in areas that I smothered with leaves...

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Posted by on March 19, 2014 at 4:15 am   This post has 17 responses.

A green gardener

Like many others in this country, I can trace my ancestry—within a couple generations—to the auld sod. My Irish forebears, the Kenneys and the Brackens, settled down to farm in Western New York when they first came here in the mid-nineteenth century. Times changed, and so did their occupations,...

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Posted by on March 17, 2014 at 9:16 am   This post has 2 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 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.

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.

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.

Garden Sage: One of my Signature Plants

Garden sage (Salvia officinalis) was one of the first useful plants I added to my first garden; my goal was to grow enough that I could use it fresh for Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing. Fifteen years later, I’m on my third garden, and though it is brand new this...

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Posted by on December 18, 2013 at 2:48 am   This post has 24 responses.

My Life With George Bush, Gardener

There is the young boy, barefoot in the garden, gamely holding a long hoe, even if it is much too big for him. Who could have imagined? Did a young George Bush enjoy the garden? He never mentioned a word to me. This is a photo of my grandfather,...

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Posted by on December 11, 2013 at 8:14 am   This post has 3 responses.

Evil, Frivolous Gardener!!!

I am ruining the world. Because I like pretty plants. Because I practice the dubious art of ornamental gardening. Yes – I admit it. I have planted non-native exotic species in my garden. I have planted them in gardens of others. I am one of those thoughtless, arrogant gardeners...

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 at 1:07 am   This post has 149 responses.
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