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Presidentially appointed but unpaid landscape architects making our spaces better

Here in DC, big projects that affect the look of Washington and our enjoyment thereof must be approved by all sorts of agencies, but my favorite and the one I’ve seen make the most improvements through their review is the oddly named U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.  Its website explains that they review important projects […]

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Posted by on December 12, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 4 responses.

Deep-Rooted Wisdom for the Holidays

     I skipped Black Friday again this year. I shop at Christmastime only under duress, but as days grow shorter, my noose tightens. Yuletide suffocation draws nigh. There is no way I’m going to the mall, but I hate to be all Bah! Humbug! This year I found a holiday remedy to...

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Posted by on December 10, 2014 at 5:01 am   This post has 8 responses.

Meadow Day in Maryland

Meadows are HOT these days, thanks to anti-lawn sentiments, concern for pollinators, and some smart designers and plant researchers.  I encountered all of the above one day last month. University of Maryland at College Park First I attended a talk+tour at the University of Maryland about the meadows on...

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Posted by on December 5, 2014 at 9:44 am   This post has 7 responses.

THANKS,

This year is a special year for me. The day after Thanksgiving, I will celebrate half a century on this planet, so I am being extra thankful. I am thankful that one day, 22 years ago, I walked outside of my newly purchased home and started looking at the...

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Posted by on November 26, 2014 at 12:44 am   This post has 14 responses.

Meeting Animals

You may not be surprised to hear that, though I adore plants, I garden primarily for animals and the life they bring to a place. Growing up, I was taught by my mother to treat animals gently and respectfully, whether they are pets or wild creatures. Mom and I...

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Posted by on October 3, 2014 at 1:11 am   This post has 5 responses.

When Wildlife Gardens Look Like Gardens

Many of you wildlife gardeners will recognize the name Pat Sutton. She’s the Cape May, NJ-based naturalist who’s developed quite a following among people interested in gardening for wildlife, a group whose numbers she adds to with every class or tour she leads. I attended Pat’s Tour of Private...

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Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm   This post has 8 responses.

A hard act to follow

But at least he agrees with me on one of my most cherished gardening principles. I was privileged to be on the same bill with David Culp at Rochester’s Gathering of Gardeners on Saturday, and I can assure you that I was as entranced as the rest of the...

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Posted by on September 15, 2014 at 8:38 am   This post has 3 responses.

The Parklet Craze

This year’s international Park(ing) Day falls on September 19, a mere two weeks from now. On that day, individuals, groups, and businesses in cities around the world will commandeer on-street parking spaces and convert them to temporary parklets. These people-friendly spaces might include plants, seating, bike parking, games, exercise...

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Posted by on September 3, 2014 at 3:08 am   This post has 3 responses.

Where’s the Wow? The Green Industry Takes Stock.

Garden suppliers’ sights are set on next spring. Last month, representatives from nurseries, greenhouses, independent garden centers and even Big Box Stores loaded up their cars, vans and trucks, heading to two vastly different Ohio trade summer shows. Cultivate ’14, in Columbus, is the biggest North American trade show,...

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Posted by on August 13, 2014 at 6:37 am   This post has 39 responses.

Free Spirit Nursery: Landscapes, Laughs and Love

  Lambèrt Vrijmoed, a British Columbia nurseryman, once drove a Pontiac hearse as his get-around car. There was not a hint of Goth subculture about him, though there was a touch of the madman. But this is not such a bad thing. The best gardeners, designers and nursery folks...

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Posted by on July 9, 2014 at 6:53 am   This post has 9 responses.

The enigma of Olmsted

Home tomorrow night? You can catch the newest documentary on Frederick Law Olmsted on PBS. Entitled Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America, this is a basic overview of the seminal landscape architect’s career, starting with Central Park and ending with his final projects in Massachusetts and North Carolina. We’ve discussed...

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Posted by on June 19, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 10 responses.

Lover of Life: My Tribute to Kurt Bluemel

Kurt Bluemel defied the odds most of his long, illustrious life, so no one was ready for the inoperable, rare liver cancer that was diagnosed a few weeks ago. After all—and perhaps for evermore—this is the legendary Der Gras König, the King of Grasses. Our king’s legacy deserves a...

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Posted by on June 11, 2014 at 6:21 am   This post has 6 responses.

So, an artist, a curator, and a designer walk into a garden …

When the words “garden” and “art” collide, you get all kinds of results. There might be a garden that contains one or more unique objects made by artists. Another could be  filled with whirligigs, gazing balls, sun catchers, or—possibly—gnomes. Or maybe the two words  mean nothing more than rows...

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Posted by on June 10, 2014 at 8:51 am   This post has 7 responses.

Kurt Bluemel, Rest in Peace

Sorry to deliver sad news. Kurt Bluemel Der Gras König — The King of Grasses — died yesterday evening after a brief illness. The Baldwin MD plantsman and humanitarian was 81. Kurt was extraordinarily artistic, tireless, demanding, resilient, charismatic, enormously successful and generous. No one loved life quite like...

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Posted by on June 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm   This post has 5 responses.

Soothing the savage beast

Inside, the colors are radiant as flowers flourish. Rows of yellow and orange marigolds mingle. Baskets of purple Angelonias and white lilacs hang above them. It is a serene sight behind bars. Many of us already know that dirt makes us happy, even without the recent scientific evidence indicating...

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Posted by on June 5, 2014 at 8:00 am   This post has 5 responses.

Kentucky King of Taros

  Poi, a traditional edible starch of the tropics, made from the ground corms of taro, can’t keep up with its popular starchy rivals—potato, corn and rice. But its ornamental qualities have come out of the shadows in the last ten years. The tropical plant, commonly known as elephant...

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Posted by on May 14, 2014 at 6:38 am   This post has 9 responses.

A master of botanical accuracy

Just in time for local wildflower season (finally), the Burchfield Penney Art Museum is mounting a show of Charles Burchfield’s early botanical drawings. Along with them, they have the models made by another artist, Paul Marchand, who specialized in dioramas and other 3D displays for the local science museum’s...

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Posted by on May 6, 2014 at 7:07 am   This post has 2 responses.

Death Valley Days and the Discovery of Two New Plant Species

I had a fitful first day in Death Valley a few weeks ago. I felt like an apprehensive Spencer Tracy when he got off the train at Black Rock in the 1955 film Bad Day at Black Rock. Whereas Tracy was nominated for an Academy Award for his role,...

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Posted by on April 23, 2014 at 7:12 am   This post has 6 responses.

Through the Hand Lens: Pat Haragan’s Steady View

I have dozens of floras sitting on cluttered bookshelves: from China to the Caucasus and from Kansas to Kentucky. Yet even more mileage is guaranteed from a new botanic investigation that covers territory closer to home—my neighborhood. I predict the pages of Pat Haragan’s “The Olmsted Parks of Louisville:...

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 at 5:06 pm   This post has 3 responses.

GARDEN GEEKS ( Yes I’m Talking to YOU)

  I think it is so funny that people who garden passionately automatically think we will have things in common just because I also garden passionately. Yes, I am a plant maniac and proud – but I am so far from the plant obsessed and jargon-spouting, horticulturally saturated lady...

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Posted by on March 26, 2014 at 1:40 am   This post has 39 responses.
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