Shannon Still Devil's Speedway Death Valley 040914

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, I was distracted and worried in […]

Read more in: It's the Plants, Darling, Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on April 23, 2014 at 7:12 am   This post has 2 responses.

Behind the Scenes: Making a Video Trailer for a Gardening Book

Though it’s no longer a new idea, it seems odd to me that a gardening book would have a video trailer. How can a video—a very different medium—give a taste of what readers might experience? On the other hand, videos lend drama to their subjects, and though I’d hope...

Read more in: Books, What's Happening
Posted by on April 16, 2014 at 3:53 am   This post has 8 responses. and a Call for Photos and Videos

Thanks, Rant commenters, for your great suggestions for improving videos of gardens, like the videos I showed you last week of the National Arboretum in April.  I heard you that the photos were whizzing by too fast, and that most of you prefer the techno music over Vivaldi.  Pixelation...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on April 11, 2014 at 8:13 am   This post has 13 responses.

Can a Video Attract Garden Visitors?

I’ve long had the notion that somehow short, viral-going videos showing the fabulousness of a garden that’s open to the public might increase visitorship – and thereby support for the garden.  And here in the D.C. area the poster child for a fabulous garden that could use some support...

Read more in: Real Gardens, What's Happening
Posted by on April 4, 2014 at 9:06 am   This post has 24 responses.

From our Landscape Architect Friends…

First, congrats to the team at Landscape Architecture Magazine on the magazine’s nomination for an impressive national award.  From their website: We are very honored to be finalists in 2014 American Magazine Awards for General Excellence in the Special Interest category, especially considering the excellent other magazines in the...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on April 3, 2014 at 9:22 am   This post has 2 responses.

Garden Tourism Getting its Due

Richard Benfield is gradually infiltrating this blog, one Ranter at a time. He’s the Central State Connecticut U. geography professor named the world’s leading authority on garden tourism – and that was before his Garden Tourism book was even published.  So naturally he’s been to Buffalo, the city leading...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 14, 2014 at 9:12 am   This post has 7 responses.

Domestic Cut Flowers Come to Congress

Last week a cut-flower event happened in the halls of Congress – a press conference announcing the creation of the brand-new Congressional Cut Flower Caucus, headed up by California Reps. Lois Capps and Duncan Hunter.  And look who’s behind the dais at the event, with Rep. Capps and other...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 13, 2014 at 11:14 am   This post has 6 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...

Read more in: Unusually Clever People, What's Happening
Posted by on March 12, 2014 at 7:42 am   This post has 5 responses.

The Designer, Post-Makeover, Launches this Week

The smartypants team at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers has something fabulous for us all, and it’s free.  It’s their totally new and stunning digital magazine The Designer, which launches later this week. (But you can subscribe now.)  I got a sneak peak and can attest to the...

Read more in: Everybody's a Critic, What's Happening
Posted by on March 10, 2014 at 11:00 am   This post has 13 responses.

“Best Philadelphia Flower Show Ever”

With the theme of Articulture – the interpretation of art through horticulture – this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show (the oldest continuing and largest indoor flower show in the world) is being raved about.  One rave by Susan Cohan caught my attention because she’s no pushover.  But the “best ever”...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on March 7, 2014 at 10:15 am   This post has 9 responses.

Garden and Nature Photos for the Snowbound Gardener

The winners of the International Garden Photographer of the Year  have apparently been announced, though from the website and press information online there’s no telling when that happened.  So this may not be news at all, but so what?  The images are a welcome sight as I look out...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on February 17, 2014 at 11:03 am   This post has Comments Off.

The Public Food Forest: Clever Solution or Future Flop?

Public food forests are a shiny new trend in the United States. Focused on perennial crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees and shrubs, they embody the values of permaculture (which I’ve touted elsewhere) : generosity, abundance, good health and nutrition, and food security. If they are developed and...

Read more in: Feed Me, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on February 5, 2014 at 3:49 am   This post has 26 responses.

Celebrating the New Year with a Giant Potato

No need for me and my fellow Idahoans to sit at home and watch the New Yorkers having all the fun… now Boise has a locally grown New Year’s Eve tradition: an evening of magic shows, live music, street food, and general merrymaking, capped off by dropping a giant...

Read more in: Eat This, Feed Me, Tune In, What's Happening
Posted by on January 1, 2014 at 4:42 am   This post has 11 responses.

Merry Christmas from the White House!

From a recent visitor to the  White House, to be more precise.  Yes, that’s me standing beneath the presidential seal (major photo-op), and on the left is the grand north entrance.  If I’d planned ahead and contacted my congressman I could have taken the White House tour with the...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, What's Happening
Posted by on December 25, 2013 at 8:29 am   This post has 3 responses.

Decorating Time, White House Version

Just how it’s done in MY house.  Yours too, I bet. Next, Bo does his final inspection. Possible Gardenblogger Report! I’ve never been inside the White House when it’s all dolled-up for the “holidays,” so I looked into it and discovered that 1, it takes congressional intervention and that...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on December 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm   This post has 4 responses.

Lawn-Mowing as a Patriotic Act

Google “lawn mower guy” and you’ll find dozens of stories about Chris Cox, shown here mowing around the Lincoln Memorial.  He became a local and national hero when he single-handedly mowed around memorials during the recent government shutdown.  Worried about public safety and vandalism at the monuments, at first...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on November 15, 2013 at 9:04 am   This post has 14 responses.

Lawn Pesticides Outlawed!

My former hometown, the leftie enclave of Takoma Park, Maryland, has made big news, y’all!  Since passing the Safe Grow Zone Act last summer it became the first town in the U.S. to outlaw lawn pesticides on not just public but also private land.  Some jurisdictions – in Connecticut,...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, What's Happening
Posted by on November 8, 2013 at 7:57 am   This post has 16 responses.

The Scarecrows of Nashville

In honor of Halloween, here are just a few of the many fun scarecrows I saw last weekend at Nashville’s Cheekwood Gardens.  They’re the creations of area school children and were big hits with the kids I was with. I’ll have more from Nashville in tomorrow’s post.

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on October 31, 2013 at 5:30 pm   This post has one response.

Tombstone as Landscape Feature

Continuing our theme of burial sites, there’s one in a small Alabama town that’s making national news. Patty Davis knew just where she wanted to be buried – just off his front porch, and that’s just what her devoted husband of 48 years did.  Trouble is, he asked permission...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on October 24, 2013 at 8:13 am   This post has 15 responses.

Rant on the Road: Charlotte, Birmingham, Back to Charlotte, and Back to Denver!

I’m in Charlotte this week, and on from there–and that’s not all!  Lots more event dates to come–the whole list is here. And–the Wicked Plants exhibit in Hickory, NC is the same one you might have seen at the North Carolina Arboretum.  It’s traveling the country how, headed all...

Read more in: What's Happening
Posted by on October 23, 2013 at 5:31 am   This post has 2 responses.
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