GardenRant Announces New Design and New Ranters Hinkley and Wareham

Big news from the GardenRant team! New Design  (L) Jim Charlier with Sally Cunningham, from Buffalo-Style Gardening. (R) Laura Bowly. The GardenRant team is thrilled to announce that the site you’re on IS GardenRant – it just looks very different. Original logo from 2006. Our new logo was created by Buffalo-based marketing and graphics genius Jim Charlier (blogging at Art of Gardening), a friend to several of us at GardenRant. He’s well known in gardening circles for successfully promotin...
Tags: Gardening, Buffalo, Washington State, Anne, Laura, Dan, Jim, Hinkley, Dan Hinkley, Wareham, Who's Ranting About Us, GardenRant, Heronswood Nursery, Jim Charlier, Anne Wareham, Ernest Wilson

‘Stay Safe’ Just Ain’t Possible Round Here.

I cannot be left with my thoughts these last few days. I emerge from the experience in a ratty mood that doesn’t benefit anyone, least of all myself. Plus I take it a step further, unleashing self-recrimination for indulging in the mood in the first place. There’s a trigger to all this fear and [self] loathing in Lovettsville.  It’s the weather. I am cold. And dammit I hate being cold. I freaking hate it. I feel like this is happening to my fingers. Autumn unofficially left the building on Mon...
Tags: Gardening, Midwest, Cirque de Soleil, Ministry of Controversy, Lovettsville, Marianne Willburn, MidAtlantic Northeast, Big Box Greeter Hand Sanitizer

Staying home—with plants

Johanna Dominguez behind the counter at Put a Plant On it (summer photo) While it’s widely acknowledged that gardening exploded during 2020—as much a result of the safety and satisfaction of being outdoors creating beauty (or trying to) as any stay-at-home order—another plant-related trend also burgeoned during the pandemic. People found that bringing plants inside the home was another way of bringing beauty and contentment into their lives at a disturbing time. Here in Buffalo, plant stores ar...
Tags: Gardening, Dominguez, Unusually Clever People, Elizabeth Licata, Johanna Dominguez, Your Gardening Dollar

Who Says Native Plants have Longer Roots?

“Secret Life of Roots” exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden Still Ranting about Generalizations Over my 14+ years of garden-ranting here, my number one target has been sweeping generalizations about plants – they’re stupid and misleading!! On that subject, I recently signed a letter objecting to misstatements about native plants in my local newspaper by the city’s “environmental coordinator.” The statements we took issue with are here in italics, followed by our rebuttals. The only information ...
Tags: Asia, Europe, Gardening, Minnesota, Usda, Kansas, Epa, Michigan State, Penn State, Susan Harris, Native Plants, Ministry of Controversy, Rain Gardens, Deep Roots, U S Botanic Garden Still Ranting, UMD NC State Penn State

’21 Is Gonna Be a Good Year

December 20, 2020 Cincinnati, Ohio Dear Marianne, I’ve gotten into the habit of blaming a lot of things on 2020. And most times, maybe every time, despite how knee-jerk and rote I’ve assigned blame to it, it has turned out to be deserved. I’m adding to this already long list the dour state of mind your last letter and your 12/15/2020 Stay Safe rant revealed. I have to admit, I never know how to react when people complain about common, run of the mill, everyday things like you kept doing in your ...
Tags: Amazon, Gardening, Post Office, Scott, Kevin, Michele, Scott Beuerlein, Cincinnati Ohio Dear Marianne

It’s #Ad Season. Don’t believe everything you see.

It’s the holiday season and our feeds are currently stuffed with gorgeous filtered photos and fifteen second videos warmed with soft music – all with one clear and focused goal: to make us buy and follow, follow and buy. Keep your wits about you. It’s a tricky season in the best of years, but at the end of the soul-suck that is 2020, we are more than a little ready to believe that others are handling life/garden/finances/decor/gift giving/holiday baking and of course, personal hygiene, a great ...
Tags: Gardening, Instagram, Virginia, Tampa Florida, Chris Hernandez, Marianne Willburn, Your Gardening Dollar, Paul Hansbarger

Winter interest revisited

Every year about this time, or maybe later, I brashly state my lack of interest in winter interest, at least as far as my own garden goes. That’s still true. After I get the bulbs in, the pots covered, and whatever shrubs need it protected, I am done. I can’t even feed birds this winter because nearby construction has stirred up critters I’d rather not see (or feed). Birds still hang out in the garden all day long; I have no idea why. It could be they’re managing to drink through the pond nettin...
Tags: Gardening, Public Gardens, Elizabeth Licata, Gardening on the Planet, Tifft

Garden resolutions: The triumph of hope over experience.

The symbolic promise of a new year is not enough for me this time around.  Normally happy to raise my glass and cheerfully throw out The Old as the clock ticks towards midnight, this year I am not so simple-minded as to think that the Fates look at December 31, 2020 and January 01, 2021 and say “Let’s make everything different, starting…..now.”   Events of the last week would seem to support my cynicism. So in practical matters of life and everyday, I am perhaps pessimistic as we continue to fac...
Tags: Garden, Gardening, Kitchen Garden, Delaware Botanic Gardens, New Garden, Terraced Garden, Woodland Garden, Marianne Willburn, Regular Gardens, Real Gardening

Real gardening trends for real gardeners

Sadly, I don’t think bulb forcing will ever be much of a trend for home gardeners. As much as I respect the work of industry groups that like to help both clients and consumers by putting together nicely packaged trend reports—which I read—it just seems like the real world of gardeners is messier, more diverse, and more interesting. (At least gardening trend reports aren’t as silly as Pantone’s yearly color announcements.) This year, I find that announced trends from Garden Media Group bear man...
Tags: Facebook, Gardening, Pantone, NGA, Elizabeth Licata, Garden Media Group, National Gardening Association, Real Gardening, Old Farmers Almanac

Newbie terrarium advice: Leave it to the experts

Johanna Dominguez of Put a Plant on It, planted this terrarium for me, my second. Happy new year! I’m celebrating by embracing a new terrarium. I’m somewhat confident because I have one already that I’ve kept going for more than a dozen years. I say somewhat because I personally did not plant either of the large terrariums now in the house, one a Victorian cloche on a pedestal (shown below) and the other, the new one, a large globe (shown with its creator, Johanna Dominguez, above). Though I’ve...
Tags: Gardening, Johanna, Tovah Martin, Unusually Clever People, Elizabeth Licata, Leca, Johanna Dominguez, Your Gardening Dollar

The Crossroads of Horticulture

  Joanne and Clyde on a slow-moving freight train in 2013. Proto-punk rocker Iggy Pop and gardening aren’t usually conjoined, but Pop’s song The Passenger could be a portrait of gardener Joanne Kim. “I have The Passenger on my playlist twice,” she said. Joanne has traveled far and absorbs subcultures everywhere she goes. Her passion for plants blossomed from a love of music and travel. “There are a lot of parallels. You try to absorb the lineage of each band and plant. It’s so deep. You go int...
Tags: South Korea, Gardening, America, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Korea, Philadelphia, Chattanooga, Black, Chelsea Flower Show, Iggy Pop, Clyde, Penn State, Ron, Wilmington Delaware, Erie

Plant Delights 2021 Catalog Sparks Outrage

Tony Avent’s beloved garden and his Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina have many mentions here on GardenRant, all favorable. We’ve reported on visits in person, and we were thrilled to be included in the cover of the 2013 catalog (the four original Ranters are in the upper left). So no one here takes pleasure in reporting on the public outcry over the 2021 catalog, though it sure deserves it. But judge for yourself. (Comments contrary to fact will be removed.)           Hundreds of people...
Tags: Gardening, Instagram, Ukraine, Best, Biden, North Carolina, Democratic Party, HARRIS, Tony, Susan Harris, Ministry of Controversy, Avent, Kathy Jentz, Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery, Kathy Kathy

Plant Explorer Ernest Wilson’s Sink is Going in My Garden

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.” ― Robert Jordan   I own E.H. Wilson’s bathroom sink. It came to me in a big wooden box from a generous and thoughtful acquaintance who had purchased, and then remodeled, E.H. Wilson’s cottage near the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts.  He had purchased, and then remodeled, the cottage in which Ernest an...
Tags: Gardening, England, China, Massachusetts, Taiwan, Sichuan, Sargent, Wilson, Sichuan Province, Boston Massachusetts, Ernest, Guizhou Province, Heronswood, Veitch, Dan Hinkley, Yunnan

Pissing Away a Privilege and a Newly Invented Theology; A Letter to VA.

January 27, 2021 Cincinnati, Ohio  Dear Marianne, It was a great relief to receive your most recent letter. I was a bit worried my previous letter to you might have been a little on the harsh side. I apologize for shining so much light on how much you like to complain. It was very generous of you to say that I’m the better person in your last letter, but the fact is–and we both know this–we could squabble all day on the issue of which of us is worse. While it would be terrific fun for us, I fear...
Tags: Gardening, Marianne, Kevin He, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati Ohio, Michele, Scott Beuerlein, Canna, Canna Kevin

Temporal disobedience

Hate turning your clock back? You’re not alone. Here’s guest Ranter James Roush’s opinion of it: That’s it. Professor Roush has had it! I’m done with the stupid seasonal time change and done with all of the turmoil it induces in our biological systems, including  increased automobile accidents, increased heart attacks, and increased suicides. It is time that we, gardeners and farmers, lead a revolt. There was never a proven worthwhile reason for kicking the clocks back and there are plenty of b...
Tags: Gardening, John Adams, Bella, Thomas Jefferson, Roush, Thoreau, Ministry of Controversy, Guest Rants, James Roush, James K Roush

“Dr. Biden’s Garden” and Inaugural Dress – Looks like she’s a Garden-Lover!

Post-election, I wrote “First Lady Jill Biden and the White House Gardens,” listing everything my research unearthed about Dr. Biden as a gardener or garden-lover, and speculating on whether she would change the White House gardens and grounds in some way. Dr. Biden’s Garden Along with some commenters expressing shock and anger that on November 12 I’d acknowledged Biden’s win came this comment on the GardenRant Facebook page:  Laura Dowling, of course, had authored her book about floral desig...
Tags: Gardening, White House, America, Cnn, Michelle Obama, Mark Twain, Biden, Delaware, Public Gardens, Bidens, Jill Biden, Susan Harris, Laura Dowling, Susan Martin, Skyler, Dowling

Abuse of Osmanthus Shrubs by Power Tools

Take a look at the two ‘Goshiki’ Osmanthus (a/k/a False Holly) on either side of my front door, where they get just a couple hours of late afternoon sun. They’re slow-growing, so they need almost no pruning, ever, and they’re evergreen! And not plain dark green like most evergreen shrubs and trees but a variegated mix of white and light green. So lovely – I love this shrub! And this year, in their 9th year out of the nursery and into this spot, they bloomed, and the scent covered my front yard...
Tags: Gardening, Holly, Susan Harris, Power Tools, Rant's Plants

Back to the garden

Set for a small daytime NYE gathering Is there anyone else whose tolerance for frigid temps has risen significantly this winter? In the cold climate zones of the US, people are finding ways to get out of the house safely, either with the family unit or even with others. For me, that doesn’t mean indoor restaurant dining or shopping. It does mean taking advantage of the winter beauty found in nearby nature preserves and parks. I wrote about that recently.  And then there is the opportunity for s...
Tags: Gardening, US, Elizabeth Licata, Regular Gardens

PBS Documentary on Norman Borlaug’s “Green Revolution”

Norman Borlaug had long been on my radar for starting a “Green Revolution” in farming that no one today would call green.  But in his day the term referred to the use of plant breeding and growing practices that became the new “conventional” in farming, with some unintended consequences. As explained by Wiki, “The basic approach was the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridiz...
Tags: Gardening, Mexico, China, Gmo, Iowa, Gmos, State Department, Pbs, Stockholm, Rockefeller Foundation, Susan Harris, Ministry of Controversy, Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, Borlaug, PBS Americain Experience

In the stimulus, a gift for the environment

Olmsted’s South Park, Buffalo All I personally want this year is to stay healthy and get to the other side of 2020 and beyond. Staying away from the people we don’t live with is the perfect—though not very fun—gift for #Holiday2020. Access to nature has been a big part of achieving this gift; where once Sundays were times for brunches with friends, now we take walks in semi-wild spots, grateful that we have them. Will we continue to have them? Will the air we breathe stay relatively safe? The n...
Tags: Gardening, Congress, Washington Post, United States, Elizabeth Licata, Gardening on the Planet, The Energy Department

Wrapping Up 2020 at the Big Box Store

Bob Hill is back and overcome by impulse. Problem No. 1 was I left my reading glasses in the car. Problem No. 2 was I was out foraging box-store garden centers in frosty December for whatever was left. Problem No.3 was that in having approached eight full decades of life I have taken a solemn vow to never again go home saying to myself, “Damn, I should have bought that.” That does run somewhat counter to Problem No. 4 – ridding the clutter in old age created by impulse-buying in an already crow...
Tags: Gardening, Syria, Indiana, Bob, Lebanon, Alberta, Mediterranean, Southern California, Utica, Janet, Goldy, Ohio River Valley, Louisville Courier Journal, Bob Hill, Hidden Hill Nursery and Garden, Chianti Classico San Gimignano Tuscany

Anthropomorphism and plants

Meet ‘Charlotte,’ which will always be an “it” to me. This won’t be a popular opinion. But it’s been on my mind for a while, and, as the practice becomes more and more common, I finally had to say something. As we know, most plants (by no means all) are hermaphrodites, with flowers that have both male and female sex organs—but it’s complicated, much more complicated than I will go into here. Indeed, I am not interested in going into it, because there is zero science behind indoor/outdoor garden...
Tags: Gardening, Epsom, Emma Hamilton, Elizabeth Licata, Rant's Plants, Elizabeth Graham Thomas

The Pleasures and Perils of Young, Broke Gardens

To walk through a young garden in winter is a courageous act when the garden is your own, and the budget, diminutive.  We forget how much frosting the active growing season naturally spreads over an imperfect cake – or indeed, how much frosting the resourceful amongst us can whip up with the aid of dramatic, fast-growing, but tender, subtropical foliage. Summer-installed Red Abyssinian bananas and bright canna hide the wide spacing of steadily growing ‘Black Dragon’ cryptomeria, ‘Cardinal Candy...
Tags: Gardening, God, Brown, Tropical Plants, Marianne Willburn, Regular Gardens, Young Broke Gardens, Black Dragon cryptomeria Cardinal Candy, Red Abyssinian, Grey Time, Garden of Contrasts Oehme, Sweden Associates Cornerstone Sonoma What

Canna, hot greenhouse fantasies, and the brutality of ice. A Letter to the Midwest.

December 29, 2020 Lovettsville, VA Dear Scott, Well, I think we’ve established that you’re the better person at this point.   As we will not agree about using shallow phrases for the sake of filling socially-distanced space, let us discuss plants instead. We can start with that canna of yours, which, had you stopped typing your letter and finding new ways of shaming me, and instead gone outside and dug the damn thing out of the friable and fertile Midwestern soil; you might have saved. I know, f...
Tags: Facebook, Gardening, UK, Atlantic, Marine Corps, Michael, Midwest, Elizabeth, Kevin, Kevin He, Jane, Michele, Buffalo NY, Marc Antony, Canna, Author 's Guild

Finding autumn…and art: A Letter to The Midwest

November 28, 2020 Lovettsville, VA Dear Scott, Thanks for your letter of 16 November.  A good and thoughtful letter, which had me laughing.  I wish you two lived closer so I could have a dose of that humor around our dinner table.  I believe the table is six foot from one end to the other, so if you and Michele took one end and Mike and I took the other, and we threw the vol au vents back and forth after a quick spritz of Clorox, we’d still be following guidelines. We’d be happy for the company....
Tags: Amazon, Gardening, London, California, Chicago, Western Australia, Cincinnati, Mao, East Africa, Mike, Kate Rusby, Michele, Robert Frost, Nessa, Lurie Garden, Barnsley Nightingale

Little Island Coming in 2021 and I Can’t Wait!

When a friend spotted this image in the Secret NYCC Instagram feed, she alerted me immediately because – I mean my God! What IS it? Well, it’s a 2.4-acre floating island in the Hudson River off the west side of Manhattan that is sure to be the next BIG thing in gardeny tourist attractions after its opening this spring. It’ll be helped by proximity to the OTHER hot gardeny place to go – The High Line. That wildly popular elevated garden and the new one – called Little Island – were both instigat...
Tags: Gardening, New York, Maryland, US, Manhattan, Nielsen, Public Gardens, West Village, Hudson River, Susan Harris, Barry Diller, Signe Nielsen, MNLA, The Hills, Hudson River Park Trust, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

“Most Beautiful College Campuses” Lists are a Mixed Bag

I couldn’t resist clicking on “Conde Nest Traveler’s 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America” listicle when it came across my Facebook feed and scrolling through the famously beautiful campuses like Amherst, Bryn Mawr, Dartmouth, and Harvard. As I came upon Northwestern in my scrolling down the alphabet I was chuckling at the very notion of my own alma mater ever making a list like this because the northern Ohio town of Oberlin is best known for its flatness, and the lack of natural beaut...
Tags: Facebook, Gardening, America, Harvard, Pennsylvania, United States, Ohio, William, Cosmo, Public Gardens, Oberlin, Breitbart, Mary, Architectural Digest, Oberlin College, Susan Harris

Last of the Great Reference Plant Manuals?

Upon my first perusal of Allan Armitage’s Fourth Edition of Herbaceous Perennial Plants; A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes—all eighty pounds of it, I swear—I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the undertaking. I was actually reminded of my previous life as a Delta Airlines employee, particularly of days in the 1990s working the ramp at our Cincinnati hub, which then operated about 350 mainline and maybe 600 or 700 regional flights a day. Vintage Delta Airlines p...
Tags: Gardening, Atlanta, Delta Airlines, Cincinnati, CVG, ATL, Armitage, Rozanne, Michael Dirr, Scott Beuerlein, Allan Armitage, Dirr, IBM Selectrics, Vintage Delta Airlines, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants

I Painted my Pots, and You May Not Like the Result

These pots in my back garden used to contain bold-colored annuals that grew surprisingly large – particularly the red Iresine here with sweet potato vine. Then the deer found them and loved them to death, so this year they held the deer-resistant but comparatively boring Little Bluestem ‘Standing Tall.’  Also, they didn’t stand tall after all. They flopped until I shortened them considerably. But since painting everything in sight in my front garden – much-needed color therapy for 2020 – I star...
Tags: Gardening, Susan Harris, Regular Gardens, Iresine

Hi from the UK.

Hello American Gardeners, What do I know of you, American garden-interested people? Very little, I believe, even about Americans generally. Well, as a child I knew you were all fabulously rich, with central heating and huge fridges. This is our central heating. I have since learned that you all like to have endless sweeps of joined up lawn in front of your houses: houses which strangely have no names. And in the Land of the Free you have lots of regulations about what to grow and how. (Is thi...
Tags: Gardening, UK, Britain, Bellis, Who's Ranting About Us, Anne Wareham, Veddw House Garden, Hallellujah

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