City Garden

A Tale of Two Gardens

I have two gardens and can barely keep up with one. The first garden is in Louisville, where Rose and I have lived for 18 years. It’s on a one-third acre city lot, down the street from the Olmsted-designed Cherokee Park. It’s planted with perennials, trees, shrubs, and a few annuals and features a scree […]

Read more in: Guest Rants, Real Gardens
Posted by on September 26, 2013 at 10:09 am   This post has 15 responses.

On transitioning to a pollinator garden

The Greenbelt “Less Lawn” tour that I organized finally happened on Sunday and it was, by all accounts, a raging success.  But before assessing its impact on the town, it actually had one on my very own garden. After all the sprucing up for the tour I concluded that the five...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on September 18, 2013 at 6:48 pm   This post has 19 responses.

Tiny Gardens in Greenwich Village

I’ve posted about the big famous gardens I saw in New York City earlier this month (here and here), but I also got a kick out of the small gardens all around me. Greenwich Village, where I was staying, has lots of charm and gardeners, including the terrific one...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on August 30, 2013 at 8:00 am   This post has 13 responses.

Tough Beauty Versus Delicate Beauty

When I first started gardening, I wanted the crazy roses I only saw in books, never in real yards.  The giant shrubs and climbers with the beautiful small flat double flowers.  I had recently moved to upstate New York, zone 4, back when it meant something to be that far...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on August 20, 2013 at 9:56 am   This post has 15 responses.

The Assistants

My fair city of Saratoga Springs, NY really feels like a city in the Adirondack woods. We are very close to the southeastern border of the Adirondack Park, and the city is old enough so that there are numerous giant trees along the streets and in the yards.  Many of...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens
Posted by on August 13, 2013 at 11:10 am   This post has 13 responses.

How to Win Friends and Influence the Environment: Put on a Garden Tour

Garden tours don’t have to be about conventional garden aesthetics; they can also teach tour-goers to be better stewards of their land, while creating more beauty for them and their community. So in that spirit, I’m organizing a garden tour for my town, one with a theme – Less...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on August 9, 2013 at 8:43 am   This post has 18 responses.

Totally Silly?

Like most of humanity, I am a largely inexplicable and highly individual mixture of profligacy and frugality.  I think I should only wear the nicest Italian shoes, which are no longer affordable for the middle class.  So I wait like a cat in the bushes watching a bird, until they...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on July 23, 2013 at 6:20 am   This post has 28 responses.

Winterthur in Summer

The Winterthur Garden (okay, and museum and library) in Wilmington, DE is an easy day-trip for me, but I’d never seen it until last month.  The reason?  I thought it was just for spring.  Famously so, of course, because it’s a garden with the big idea of being a...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on July 12, 2013 at 8:35 am   This post has 4 responses.

Beach Gardens and Family Secrets

Recently the weather was too glorious to resist going to the beach for the day, especially since it was mid-week and the kids were still in schools – no crowds!  So off to Rehoboth Beach, DE, where I walked the boardwalk and then rented a bike so I could...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on June 21, 2013 at 6:35 am   This post has 8 responses.

A Passion for Turfgrass, and other Matters of Taste

I’m not thoroughly anti-lawn, unlike some of my Lawn Reform comrades, especially the ones who live in desert climates.  My beefs with turfgrass here on the Wet Coast are that it does virtually nothing for wildlife and that when it’s cared for in a certain way – the Scotts ideal...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, Real Gardens
Posted by on May 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm   This post has 21 responses.

The Animals and Garden Amenities of Plantsman David Culp

Not long ago I confessed that I was scheming to see David Culp’s Pennsylvania garden, made glorious in his book The Layered Garden.  And yesterday that blogger pushiness paid off when I attended his book (re)launch in the very same garden, which did not disappoint. David’s makes his living...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on May 24, 2013 at 8:19 am   This post has 13 responses.

It’s not too late

You can still register for this year’s bloggers’ get-together. The sixth annual Garden Bloggers Fling in San Francisco happens June 28-30; its itinerary includes tours of private gardens (a sample above), tours of public spaces like Filoli and the Conservatory of Flowers, a photography workshop with Saxon Holt, and...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on March 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm   This post has 5 responses.

How to Teach a Town to Garden – Ideas, Please!

The Mission To turn my mostly-lawn community of 1,600 townhouses, some with incredibly large yards, into a place with gardens that benefit the environment and humans, too.   We do have large trees and lots of geometrically shaped hedges, but that’s about it, except for the houses on the perimeter...

Read more in: Lawn Reform, Real Gardens
Posted by on February 22, 2013 at 9:13 am   This post has 39 responses.

The Cocktail Garden: Before and After

Last week I posted garden designer Susan Morrison’s lovely hand-drawn plans of my cocktail garden, which she designed in response to my desperate plea for help. You can see the final results in the February issue of Sunset magazine, but maybe you’d like to see where we started. Because...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Drink This, Garden Rant Cocktail Hour, Real Gardens
Posted by on January 30, 2013 at 4:02 am   This post has 12 responses.

Snow in Buffalo—whoda thunk it?

It  has been a while since we had a real storm.

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on December 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm   This post has 3 responses.

Off the Leash

I’ve had Henry, a big handsome alpha dog, for the last two years. People say he’s badly trained. I’m not sure. Like the other members of my household, Henry definitely has a will of his own and yanks me around sometimes on the leash, but I often find him...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 26, 2012 at 10:02 am   This post has 21 responses.

Awesome Annuals in the Smithsonian Gardens

Everyone loves the Smithsonian museums on D.C.’s National Mall, but gardener-tourists also love their gardens.  Here’s a sampling from mid-October, when I particularly admired (and will copy!) their use of annuals. By email, the Smithsonian’s supervisory horticulturist Jonathan Kavelier told me that “These plantings also include Amaranthus and Cuphea,...

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 23, 2012 at 7:36 am   This post has 20 responses.

Update from my Community Garden Plot

Back in June I was complaining that I still didn’t have space in my town’s community gardens, though I was enjoying just going there and hanging out with the critters and the occasional gardener.  Well, thanks to some neighborhood schmoozing in July, I was offered space in a nice...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 16, 2012 at 9:17 am   This post has 10 responses.

The Gardens of San Miguel

There’s one garden in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico that’s known to residents and visitors alike and it’s “El Jardin” right in the center of the Colonial city.  What’s interesting and even iconic about this city park is the way the trees are pruned – into always-perfect flat spheres. ...

Read more in: Real Gardens
Posted by on October 2, 2012 at 10:01 am   This post has 11 responses.

Sunflower sutra

There is a climactic scene in the charming if strange independent movie Elvis & Anabelle. The lead male character, Elvis, a budding mortician, is about to commit suicide when he notices out his window that a field of sunflowers has magically burst into bloom outside his window. The sight...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm   This post has 15 responses.
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