The Ingwersen's Birch Farm nursery staff 1979. David Watling is 3rd from left. Allen Bush is 5th from right.

Pen Pals No More

I’m not much of a pack rat, but I have saved old letters from the past thirty-five years. Gardeners, who it seems seldom had a boring day, dominate the files. Among them are letters from Christopher Lloyd and Elizabeth Lawrence, but I especially enjoyed rereading my letters from David Watling. This is not a name […]

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Posted by on January 17, 2013 at 6:43 am   This post has 6 responses.

An Almighty Will to Propagate

“Why do you love what you do?” This was a question posed last month at the annual conference of the Eastern Region of the International Plant Propagators Societyin the Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania. The joyful reply came from Joe LaMent (a fellow whose name in no way fits his personality)...

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Posted by on November 22, 2012 at 8:35 am   This post has 5 responses.

The State of Cannabis-Growing Literature

Ranter James Rousch recently lamented that Garden Literature is going Up in Smoke, based on his count of 87 pot-growing books currently on offer at the local Barnes and Noble.  I recently read one of them myself (to review, I swear!) – the excellent Supercharged from Timber Press, which...

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 at 8:57 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Roots of My Obsession

  Timber Press managed to do the impossible and get thirty gardeners to each stop what they were doing all at once and sit down and write something about why they garden.  The result is this little essay collection, THE ROOTS OF MY OBSESSION:  Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why...

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Posted by on October 24, 2012 at 4:37 am   This post has 37 responses.

J.C. Raulston and the Green Closet

Please welcome Bobby Ward, author of Chlorophyll in His Veins: J. C. Raulston, Horticultural Ambassador. Recently Amy Stewart commented on Clyde Phillip Wachsberger’s book Into the Garden With Charles, a gardening memoir of Wachsberger and his partner, Charles Dean. The late J. C. Raulston would have greatly appreciated Wachsberger’s...

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 at 3:23 am   This post has 17 responses.

Melons, Squash, and Cash

  That’s NPR’s headline, not mine.  My husband switched the radio on yesterday morning just in time for me to hear this story about Amy Goldman, who as I’m sure you know is an author, artist, and heirloom seed advocate.   We’ve written about her incredible bronze casts of heirloom...

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 at 3:57 am   This post has 2 responses.

The Story Ends Well For Heronswood

Heronswood, the revered botanical garden created in Kingston, Washington by plant collector Dan Hinkley and his partner, architect Robert Jones, as an adjunct to the nursery they founded in 1987, was put up for a sealed bid auction last month by its owner of the last 12 years, W....

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm   This post has 15 responses.

Green for President

We’ve always said here that gardening is political, a way of opting out of a culture that pushes us to live lives powered entirely by fossil fuels and processed substances that bear only the slightest relationship to actual food. Food is political, as Michael Pollan has been telling us...

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm   This post has 9 responses.

To maintain or not to maintain

That is the question, but sometimes it depends on what type of maintenance you’re talking about. Last week, I heard many tributes to writer Nora Ephron (who died last Thursday at 71), including reprises of radio interviews where she read from her most recent books. This is from I...

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Posted by on July 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm   This post has 17 responses.

Dinosaurs at the Conservatory

San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers has just opened a new exhibit called Plantosaurus Rex that highlights prehistoric plants and–uh–alarmingly lifelike replicas of the creatures that ate them.  I asked the exhibit director, Lau Hodges–who, by the way, is one of the funniest and most interesting women you’ll ever meet–to...

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Posted by on June 27, 2012 at 4:28 am   This post has 6 responses.

One rises; another falls

There’s no doubt that independent garden centers and nurseries—like many businesses—have been seeing their sales decline over the last few years. The percentage dips have been in as much as the double digits, depending on where you are in the U.S. Many nurseries and IGCs have been forced to...

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Posted by on May 25, 2012 at 5:14 am   This post has 25 responses.

Farmer pirates get their dump truck!

Avast and belay! I couldn’t help but notice some familiar names on the Kickstarter list, so thanks to any of our readers who contributed to the Farmer Pirates Kickstarter campaign. They made their goal late last night, and will be able to expand their compost program, collecting food waste and...

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm   This post has 2 responses.

Still More Earthworm Madness!

Andrew Keys continues his podcast series, Garden Confidential, with–guess what?  Earthworms! He and I chatted about all things wormy a while back, and if you just haven't had enough worms already this week, you'd better head over to Fine Gardening's website and check that out.

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Posted by on March 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm   This post has one response.

Have You Peed on Your Garden Lately?

Well, why not? Our favorite garden professor, Jeff Gillman, tells you how.  Well.  Not how.  I'm pretty sure you know how.  He'll tell you why, though! These and other amazing bits of information can be found in his clever and highly useful new book Decoding Gardening Advice, written with...

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Posted by on March 14, 2012 at 5:06 am   This post has 12 responses.

Cactomania: We Have a Winner!

Thanks, everyone, for your highly amusing comments on Scott Calhoun's post about his fine new book, The Gardener's Guide to Cactus.  I was just in Phoenix for a day, and I drove around with a genuine interest and curiosity about the cacti I saw, all thanks to Scott and...

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 at 5:24 am   This post has one response.

It’s Not Gardening, It’s Cactomania

Y'all please welcome Friend of Rant Scott Calhoun, author of a new book called The Gardener's Guide to Cactus. Read on for the chance to win not just a book, but an actual cactus. I have to say, this is a totally amazing and really fun book.  Gardening with...

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 at 1:01 am   This post has 37 responses.

My Author Crush: An Armchair Garden Classic for $1.99

My very clever publisher, Algonquin Books, is trying something new:  they're pricing seven of their backlist ebooks at only $1.99, for one week only, as a way of sharing the love we all have for some of these, shall we say, vintage titles.  In February, they asked seven Algonquin...

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Posted by on February 13, 2012 at 5:18 am   This post has 11 responses.

Chicken Gardens: We Have a Winner!

Thanks, everybody, for your comments in response to my chicken gardening dilemma. Jessi Bloom, author of Free Range Chicken Gardens, chose a winner and offered all kinds of interesting ideas for keeping the girls out of the vegetable beds.  First, our winner is Kerry, who Jessi chose because she...

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Posted by on February 8, 2012 at 4:31 am   This post has 3 responses.

My Chicken Gardening Dilemma

Please excuse the dismal condition of my backyard.  It is winter, after all,  In a few months, the perennials will be in flower and the whole thing will be quite cheerful.  But here's my problem–and if you've got an idea, you might win a book, so read on: I've...

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Posted by on February 1, 2012 at 3:13 am   This post has 55 responses.

I’m off doing something holiday-ish

But where you should go is Lauren Scheuer's wonderful chicken blog, Scratch and Peck, to read this totally charming post about her chicken's feet. I've written about Lauren before.  She's an illustrator, which is what makes her blog so wonderful, and she's a warm and funny person, as I...

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Posted by on December 28, 2011 at 5:45 am   This post has 3 responses.
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