A Gardening Education: Alberta and Omer

  While I wait for my first social security check to arrive later this month, I have been thinking about two crucial mentors. Alberta Coleman and Omer Barber fostered my gardening career. They were as different as a peony and a prickly pear. I volunteered to work with Alberta Coleman in the Vista program in […]

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Posted by on June 14, 2017 at 7:22 am   This post has 4 responses.

Garden show-offs and lawn proselytizing at a DC museum

Here’s one item not on the agenda for this month’s Garden Blogger’s Fling in Washington, DC, but I don’t plan to miss it: “Cultivating America’s Gardens,” at the National Museum of American History in Washington. It opened last month and is on view through August 2018, so there’s plenty...

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Posted by on June 8, 2017 at 7:51 am   This post has 2 responses.

Meet the New On-Camera Gardening Guru

Laura LeBoutillier was working at her parents’ garden center in Eastern Oregon, and husband Aaron was working at the local cable company. Their lives changed when Aaron bought a new camera that happened to also take video and a relative suggested he use it to make instructional ones with...

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Posted by on May 5, 2017 at 6:05 am   This post has 3 responses.

The One and Only Poison Ivy Horticulturist

Superman was the most thrilling comic book hero of my boyhood. “Look… Up in the sky…It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman!” I felt better knowing that good would conquer evil—eventually. Now, J.J. Burkman and the “team of horticulturalists-turned-heroes are fighting an evil villain named Heart Root and...

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Posted by on April 12, 2017 at 8:07 am   This post has 4 responses.

A Fond Farewell to Evelyn Hadden

After three years as a regular GardenRanter, Evelyn Hadden has retired from blogging to concentrate on her music. Her last post was in October but in hopes that she’d change her mind, none of us announced it, or thanked her for her many wonderful posts, which we know readers...

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Posted by on January 27, 2017 at 6:36 pm   This post has Comments Off on A Fond Farewell to Evelyn Hadden.

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.

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.

Catching up with Dr. A

It’s been a while! Horticulturalist, professor, breeder, and—as we know him best—author of Herbaceous Perennial Plants and many other standard texts on garden plants, Allan Armitage, has been absent from our blog pages for a couple years. I was happy to hear that he was the featured speaker at...

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Posted by on February 8, 2016 at 10:38 am   This post has 3 responses.

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....

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

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.

Hackberry Nerds Not in Lab Coats

Nowhere else on the planet will you find anything that compares to the geeky and up-to-date Garden Rant coverage of hackberries. Last week’s Guest Rant by Scott Beuerlein nudged the door on the belittled common hackberry. This week we will attempt to blow the door wide open with the...

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Posted by on November 11, 2015 at 7:28 am   This post has 9 responses.

The question of permeable pavers and paving

Last week, I posted about a beautiful parking lot that is conserving trees and water. It’s the project of my friend Dave Majewski, who’s been pursuing green infrastructure and remediative landscapes for decades. (This year, Dave received the EPA’s Environmental Quality Award for his urban habitat project on Buffalo’s...

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 at 9:46 am   This post has 7 responses.

A kinder, gentler parking lot

“Where are you going?” “I’m driving to Hamburg to look at a parking lot.” “Is it OK if I don’t go with you?” This marital exchange took place on a beautiful Saturday morning a couple weeks ago, before I set off for a suburban village about twenty miles south...

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Posted by on November 5, 2015 at 8:48 am   This post has 17 responses.

A houseplant whisperer

Once again, writer Tovah Martin, author of The New Terrarium (reviewed here in 2009), goes where many gardeners fear to tread—within the confines of the average centrally heated American home. This is the threshold that—for many gardeners—forms an impenetrable barrier. “Plant cultivation stops here” may as well be on...

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Posted by on October 26, 2015 at 8:00 am   This post has 6 responses.

A Satisfying Stack of Stones

Fresh from a class on dry (mortarless) stacked stone wall building, I am appreciating anew the many contributions of stone to a garden. Of course, I’ve already incorporated two stone patios and a couple of stepping stone paths into my new garden, courtesy of my good friend Jason at...

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 at 10:11 am   This post has 12 responses.

Who needs leaf peeping when you have your own arboretum?

“I’m not an environmentalist.” That’s one of the statements I remember from my morning visit to one of Western New York’s foremost tree experts, Thomas Draves, who’s also a certified nursery and landscape professional and attends to the tree needs of clients throughout the area. He’s not an environmentalist,...

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Posted by on October 13, 2015 at 9:59 am   This post has 7 responses.

Dining in a Field of Slow Flowers

You know those glamorous-looking field-to-table dinners shown in high-end magazines? Well, just take it up a notch, if that’s possible, and you have Field to Vase dinners like the one I got to crash as “press” last week in Gainesville, Virginia. The event was part of a 10-city dinner tour showing...

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Posted by on September 18, 2015 at 5:53 am   This post has 6 responses.

The politics of decay

I gave up on home composting a few years back after briefly trying a tall tumbler; there was no good place to keep it, and my neglect of it in its obscure location made for poor or minimal results. However, I couldn’t stand the thought of allowing organic waste...

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Posted by on September 15, 2015 at 8:44 am   This post has 9 responses.