I love bulbs, but these are still my favorite spring flower.

Spring prep, gardening on the radio and—a giveaway

When I was asked by our local NPR station to do a series on Buffalo gardens and gardening, of course I was happy to help out (i.e., this is a nonpaying gig, like so many I have). My first segment will be on early garden prep, which is still happening here in the Northeast, and […]

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Posted by on April 28, 2015 at 7:52 am   This post has 65 responses.

Dumbarton Oaks in April

Yesterday was the perfect day to visit Dumbarton Oaks, the Beatrix Farrand-designed garden and research facility in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood. Cherry trees and magnolias were still blooming, under blue skies.  I was reminded why the National Geographic named it the 6th best garden in the world. Above, the garden’s most iconic...

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Posted by on April 17, 2015 at 7:19 am   This post has 6 responses.

In Japan, “The flowers only bloom for a week, so let’s party!”

Stories about cherry blossoms in Washington can be pretty boring, but this report about how they’re celebrated in Japan is anything but.

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Posted by on April 14, 2015 at 6:43 am   This post has 5 responses.

Bourbon Disease Could Be Worse Than a Bad Hangover

  The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner—the first Saturday in May. I am gripped with fear. I won’t lose sleep over another losing Derby bet, but I’ve just read in the past few weeks that Bourbon disease could rear its ugly head.  I hope not, but who...

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Posted by on April 9, 2015 at 7:57 am   This post has 4 responses.

Pesticide Bans Arriving in U.S.

The banning of pesticides on ornamentals plants started in Canada but is gradually spreading to the south. Liberal Takoma Park, MD recently became the first place in the U.S. to implement such a ban on public and private property, as reported here. And now the proponents of that ban are taking it...

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Posted by on April 3, 2015 at 8:33 am   This post has 11 responses.

So Visit a Garden Already!

Wherever you live, this mini-rant is for you. The DC Gardens crowd-sourcing campaign to promote gardening and public gardens is happening through May 1 at Indiegogo.

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Posted by on March 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm   This post has Comments Off.

Floral Design Clash at the White House: French v. Modern

First there was news that head White House floral designer Laura Dowling had left her job a few weeks ago, with no fanfare, and no one knew why.  There were reports that she’d actually been “escorted off the grounds”! Two days later the Washington Post’s gossip-column had an update –...

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Posted by on March 26, 2015 at 8:12 am   This post has 3 responses.

The Other Garden

  A person’s relationship with a garden can be one of the most profound relationships we can have. Just as profound as the ones we have with our husbands, our wives, our children. A connection with a garden can be like the one we have with a lover –...

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Posted by on March 25, 2015 at 12:12 am   This post has 31 responses.

Let’s Spread the Word about Public Gardens in D.C. and Elsewhere

I just donated to help fund a website that showcases DC-area gardens, a project spearheaded by fellow Ranter Susan Harris. Wherever I go, I visit gardens; no doubt many of you fellow gardeners do too. And sometimes it is difficult to quickly figure out which public gardens are near...

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Posted by on March 18, 2015 at 12:15 am   This post has 5 responses.

MY Trip to the Philly Flower Show

Boy, do we cover the Philadelphia Flower Show here – with a guest post, a guest photographer, and now with my very personal experience of the show – which was not the greatest, and all my fault. First, some meeting and greeting. White House floral designer Laura Dowling demonstrated...

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Posted by on March 13, 2015 at 8:14 am   This post has 15 responses.

Washington Post Gives Nice Boost to DC Gardens

DCGardens.com and its local supporters are loving the feature about it in the Washington Post this week. Reporter John Kelly chatted me up for an hour and then called a photographer I recruited to join the cause after spying him with his tripod and expensive camera at the National...

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Posted by on March 12, 2015 at 9:20 pm   This post has one response.

Scenes from the Philadelphia Flower Show

It was a great year for the Philadelphia Flower Show, and local photographer Ashley Youwakim is sharing with Rant readers her shots from the show. Captions by Ashley, too. The show’s theme, “Celebrate the Movies,” scattered large cinematic screens that projected clips from an assortment of films.  As the...

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Posted by on March 12, 2015 at 9:02 am   This post has 5 responses.

Whitewashed Tree Trunks: The Unvarnished Story

After a few swipes on Aunt Polly’s plank fence, Tom Sawyer  tired of painting whitewash. So it doesn’t surprise me that there’s no hint, in Mark Twain’s novel, that Tom took a paintbrush to tree trunks. I have been intrigued with this peculiar cultural phenomenon since I was Tom...

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Posted by on March 11, 2015 at 7:43 am   This post has 13 responses.

The Annual Buying (and subsequent killing) of the Air Plant and Plumeria Stick

Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray Having been to the Philadelphia Flower Show for many years in a row now, my annual trip has taken on a really wonderful rhythm and familiarity. My friend Grace is tiny and swift. Her job is to zip in and out through the crowds while...

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Posted by Wendy Kiang-Spray on March 10, 2015 at 9:07 am   This post has 8 responses.

They have gardens in Canada, too!

Just kidding. I’ve been enjoying my proximity to the cosmopolitan delights of Toronto and the beauties of Ontario’s Niagara region for decades, and now I invite fellow bloggers to do the same. The next Garden Bloggers Fling takes place June 5-8 in Toronto and environs. We’ll see gardens on...

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Posted by on March 9, 2015 at 5:24 am   This post has 15 responses.

The Power of Naming

In my last column, I admitted I prefer my own garden to Garden Shows, though it does depend on how far under the snow my garden is buried at the time the shows are happening. Symposia, on the other hand, are special treats. I invariably find them valuable, especially...

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Posted by on March 6, 2015 at 12:05 pm   This post has 24 responses.

Donate to DC Gardens – Even if you Live Somewhere Else!

Crowd-sourcing for the DC Gardens media campaign starts NOW!  Click here to see the video, the “story,” the team (more members being added today), and the “impacts.” If you’re local to the DC area: Browse images and videos of our 12 destinations gardens by month. Use our Deep Local...

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Posted by on March 2, 2015 at 8:07 am   This post has 2 responses.

How to Barter Gardening Expertise for Home Repairs and Soup

Timebanks are being created all across the U.S. so that people can help members of their community in whatever way they can, and get help in return, though probably not from the person they helped. Hours spent helping are banked, and all skills are treated the same. Timebanks are...

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Posted by on February 20, 2015 at 9:48 am   This post has 14 responses.

The Best Garden Show of All

I don’t enjoy ranting and would much rather rave — about, for example, the glorious iridescent slug traceries on the pavers of my courtyard this morning. However, that will have to wait for some future date, because today’s topic is home and garden shows. My tendency has been to...

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Posted by on February 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm   This post has 14 responses.

Talking up Gardens at the Visitors Bureau

Most public gardens in DC are little known to locals and never promoted to visitors (in contrast to the super-hyped cherry trees or to be exact, their short-lived blossoms).  And unlike most cities, our large, popular gardens are FREE.  Sadly, they don’t have the funds to let people know...

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Posted by on February 13, 2015 at 8:22 am   This post has 20 responses.
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