Vrijmoed retail

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 follow a different muse. In 1994 […]

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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.

Bunny Mellon, a DC Garden Designer with Connections

Philanthropist and garden designer Bunny Mellon died recently, and I didn’t appreciate her significance until reading Adrian Higgins’ terrific profile of her in today’s  WaPo.  “Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon, arts patron and confidante of Jackie Kennedy, dies at 103.” I didn’t even know that she designed two major gardens at...

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Posted by on March 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm   This post has 2 responses.

*Fate Loves the Fearless: The Perennial Divine

A Pentecostal snake handler fell victim to natural selection in Middlesboro, Kentucky, on the same weekend I was attending a horticultural conference in Grünberg, Germany. Pity the poor pastor. The folks in Grünberg know better: Perennials are perfectly divine and much easier to handle than poisonous snakes. Mary Vaananen, my...

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Posted by on March 12, 2014 at 7:42 am   This post has 5 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.

The Joy of Giving: To Seek and to Share a Little Crab Apple

Another season of binge shopping and Bourbon balls has come to an end. Credit cards and waistlines have been stretched. Good luck if you made New Year’s resolutions to make amends for holiday excesses. But don’t worry if your good intentions fall by the wayside before April Fools’ Day....

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Posted by on January 8, 2014 at 5:42 am   This post has 7 responses.

GardenRant Announces New Partners!

Since 2006 GardenRant has been the work of four opinionated gardeners doing their best to “uproot the gardening world,” with occasional help from guests adding their voices to the mix.  But now that’s changed, with the addition of three new GardenRant partners as regular Voices over there in the...

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Posted by on October 21, 2013 at 9:42 am   This post has 8 responses.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Novel of Botanical Exploration

  When I ran into Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the megahit Eat, Pray, Love and five other books, at a party earlier this year, she wanted to talk about only one thing: botany. Her new novel, The Signature of All Things, was working its way to publication and I...

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Posted by on October 2, 2013 at 5:06 am   This post has 73 responses.

On the importance of James van Sweden to the Ecological Movement in American Gardening

Adrian Higgins perfectly captures how radical a change Jim van Sweden’s “New American Garden” was when he and Wolfgang Oehme introduced grasses and perennials in the ’70s.   The whole obituary is a fascinating read.

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Posted by on September 26, 2013 at 9:39 am   This post has Comments Off.

Remembering James van Sweden

I just learned that DC-based but world-class landscape architect James van Sweden died a few days ago after a long illness.  Landscape Architecture Magazine has a nice summary of his importance here and will surely pay homage to him in an upcoming issue.  I had the pleasure of interviewing...

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Posted by on September 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm   This post has one response.

Rant on the Road: Garden Bloggers Conference in Atlanta

    Hey people!  Like the sign says I’ll be speaking at a new conference for garden bloggers, put on by the same people who have been hosting a very successful design bloggers conference for several years.  They’ve invited not just speakers from the garden and horticulture world, but...

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Posted by on July 24, 2013 at 10:09 am   This post has 2 responses.
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