Best Gardening Event of Winter? MANTS!

Yesterday I made my yearly pilgrimage to Baltimore to attend MANTS.  the largest nursery trade show in the East – by far. This year there were 900+ vendors in 1,200 booths, and over 10,000 pre-registered attendees. It was a blast for me – getting to see dozens of garden-world friends, and being surrounded by plants, […]

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Posted by on January 12, 2018 at 11:14 am   This post has one response.

The Little Greenhouse That Could

My first greenhouse was neither big nor fancy. Built in 1980, the 14’ X 32’ hoop house—small by commercial greenhouse standards—became my plant propagation house for the next 15 years. I spent a lot of time in the little greenhouse at Holbrook Farm and Nursery near Mills River, NC....

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Posted by on January 11, 2018 at 9:25 am   This post has 5 responses.

Niagara Falls is not frozen

And it wasn’t three years ago either, which was the last time this clickbait appeared on Facebook. But it is pretty damn cold, and frozen mist has formed a crust of ice over some parts of the still-flowing water—the thinner Bridal Falls, in particular, really looks frozen, though water...

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Posted by on January 8, 2018 at 11:30 am   This post has 4 responses.

Plant-Based Icons at the U.S. Botanic Garden

The year-old Museum of African American History and Culture on the grounds of the Washington Monument is still so hard to get tickets for, I’ve only seen the exterior (fabulous!) and the landscape (too new to look like much). But while I’m figuring out how to get inside, at...

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Posted by on December 25, 2017 at 7:54 am   This post has 3 responses.

Progress at Good Gardening Videos

I’ve always loved turning people on to gardening and teaching them to succeed at it – whether by writing, coaching, or local activism. This year tried a new way to teach people gardening – by curating gardening videos on YouTube for accuracy and quality and helping people find them....

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Posted by on December 15, 2017 at 9:15 am   This post has 3 responses.

The Best Seed Company in the World

It is time to say good-bye to the wonderful and versatile Jelitto Perennial Seeds—at least in one sense. I’ll be clocking out, for the last time, at the end of the year. I am grateful to my friend Klaus Jelitto for giving me a job 22 years ago. There...

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Posted by on December 13, 2017 at 7:54 am   This post has 26 responses.

How one Garden Club is Changing with the Times

Who’s old enough to have belonged to a garden club back when they were known as cliques for privileged white women? (The Savannah Garden Club made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil comes to mind – the boozy lunches, the expelling of members for getting...

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Posted by on December 1, 2017 at 9:25 am   This post has 6 responses.

Perennial Royalty: It’s Inbred

There are few families in American horticulture with four generations of successful nursery crops. There are even fewer nursery legends with a story so well remembered as that of Jack Schultz, the 88-year-old Schultz family patriarch and founder of Springbrook Gardens, wholesale perennials growers, in Mentor, Ohio. Jack’s dad,...

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Posted by on November 29, 2017 at 7:56 am   This post has 2 responses.

Are Images of Gardeners in the Media Finally Improving?

My recent rant about stereotypes of gardeners in a new play got me thinking about the images of gardeners used in advertising and elsewhere. The garden-club-competing gardeners in the play typify the demographic so often used to portray us – white and elderly.   More of the same can...

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Posted by on November 3, 2017 at 8:55 am   This post has 10 responses.

Waiting for Camus

Albert Camus nearly got it right when he wrote: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is in flower.” The French philosopher didn’t clutter a good line with what really blossoms in autumn for many gardeners. In practical terms, with cooler temperatures, the weeds wind down. This year,...

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Posted by on October 25, 2017 at 7:47 am   This post has Comments Off on Waiting for Camus.

Ask Your Budtender First

  I went to a legal pot dispensary in Denver this summer. Marijuana, you’ve no doubt heard, is a hot commodity in Colorado. The dispensary reminded me of the Long Branch Saloon on the long-playing television series Gunsmoke (1955-1975). Miss Kitty traded gossip in the saloon with U.S. Marshall...

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Posted by on October 11, 2017 at 8:19 am   This post has 2 responses.

Gardening Podcast Update

I’m thrilled to report that since 2010, when I complained about there being only two gardening podcasts on my little iPod, there are now many more and their quality is amazing! Here’s what I’m listening to now. Cultivating Place by Jennifer Jewell originates on National Public Radio, so its high...

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Posted by on September 15, 2017 at 7:26 am   This post has 8 responses.

HGTV Stars – Where are They Now?

I learned to garden lo these many years ago from two sources – good magazines and good shows on HGTV, back when it had them. (Gardeners love to complain about the missing G from the channel and this year that’s truer than ever, judging from their new shows and episodes where...

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Posted by on September 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm   This post has 9 responses.

Monty Don’s 80 Plant Cultures of the World

Monty Don has been getting an unusual amount of attention lately in the U.S., thanks to his provocative article “There’s no point trying to convince millennials to garden. Nobody wants to hear that but I suspect he’s right. So who IS this guy? Here’s a quick bio on BBC...

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Posted by on August 23, 2017 at 3:41 pm   This post has 7 responses.

All Maters Matter

Guest Ranter Ralph Haas, and his Kailua Farm partners, had a goal of winning a ribbon at the Kentucky State Fair last week. They had one problem. They couldn’t pull together five red tomatoes between them. Ralph wrote a letter of explanation that was submitted with their fair entry....

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Posted by Ralph Haas on August 23, 2017 at 7:10 am   This post has 5 responses.

GWA/Buffalo Take-Aways

Buffalo! Time for a debrief after attending the Garden Writers annual shindig held in Buffalo this year – to the delight of anyone who’s been there in the last decade or so and the apprehension of anyone who hasn’t. Yeah, Buffalo had lots of doubters, but boy did that...

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Posted by on August 18, 2017 at 7:48 am   This post has 11 responses.

John Oliver Discovers the One and Only Ciscoe Morris

I love this! So does the Seattle Times.

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Posted by on August 15, 2017 at 10:27 am   This post has 5 responses.

Perennially Yours: Steve Still

Garden Rant contributor Bob Hill came to my 60th surprise birthday party some years ago. After a few glasses of wine, he said, “Look around. All of these friends will be at your funeral.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or pray. I have thought about Bob’s prophetic words...

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Posted by on August 9, 2017 at 7:23 am   This post has 10 responses.

Sunflowers Rivaling Cherry Blossoms as Top Plant Attraction

Here’s why I’m going out on a cherry blossom limb to assert that the humble sunflower is gaining on DC’s most overhyped flowers. Just outside DC, Maryland’s McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area is just now seeing its sunflower fields cleared of photographers from near and far. There’s a special Guide for Photographing...

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Posted by on August 4, 2017 at 10:07 am   This post has 3 responses.

Beach Town’s Transition from Gambling and Gangs to Gorgeous Gardens

This week I visited North Beach, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, about 45 minutes from my home. I hadn’t been there since the 1980s, when I remember it as rundown and generally depressing. A little research into the town’s history explains why. From Wikipedia: The town was a gambling mecca...

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Posted by on July 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm   This post has Comments Off on Beach Town’s Transition from Gambling and Gangs to Gorgeous Gardens.