Armitage in the field--from the app

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 a Buffalo industry event—the annual Plant […]

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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.

The wild side

At this time of year, I often prefer hiking to gardening. Late summer is my favorite time for the plants that grow wild in the parks and the preserves of Western New York, and the more common they are, the better I like them.  They don’t even have to...

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Posted by on August 25, 2015 at 8:11 am   This post has 12 responses.

Worth the wait—Girl Waits with Gun

She kills me. As Garden Rant co-founder Amy Stewart moves into longform fiction, she demonstrates again her powers to surprise, entertain, and inform. Stewart’s latest book, Girl Waits with Gun, is a period adventure novel based on a 1914-15 true story—that of one of America’s first female deputy sheriffs....

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Posted by on August 18, 2015 at 9:14 am   This post has 3 responses.

Rock Star Garden

I had no idea what to expect from the Hartman Rock Garden. Richie Steffen pitched it to me as a garden like no other. I was in Columbus, OH, a few weeks ago for the Cultivate ’15 trade show and had some time to kill.  The Cultivate ‘15 is...

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Posted by on July 22, 2015 at 7:38 am   This post has 13 responses.

Janet Draper: A Perennial Force

Rare is the circus that has the extraordinary talent or the vast experience of someone like Janet Draper. This dynamo of the green world is helping to organize a circus of sorts. The 33rd annual symposium of the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) will be held in Baltimore from July 27...

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Posted by on July 8, 2015 at 6:45 am   This post has 9 responses.

Colors of equality

Those lanterns weren’t nearly gay enough. In celebration of Friday’s SCOTUS marriage equality decision, and in solidarity with all of my friends and colleagues who have already availed themselves of this freedom or who are now able to, here is some rainbow/garden imagery I found on Shutterstock. Like Susan,...

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Posted by on June 29, 2015 at 8:00 am   This post has 12 responses.

“Nature rewards the bold”

The quote comes from the last words of a recent essay by Umberto Pasti in the New York Times. Many of you will also recognize his inspiration—Fortune favors the brave, a Latin proverb that’s been used as the motto of regiments, clans, battleships, and many other entities. However you say...

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Posted by on June 16, 2015 at 8:38 am   This post has 11 responses.

Mad May: No Fury

My excitement for wild plants is as far afield from Mad Max: Fury Road as you can imagine. My best botanizing adventures, by comparison, would be more like an open-air My Dinner with Andre. An afternoon with my plant-obsessed compatriots would bore the bejesus out of most Americans or,...

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Posted by on June 10, 2015 at 7:12 am   This post has 4 responses.
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