Posts filtered by tags: Ministry of Controversy[x]


 

I like thug plants and I cannot lie

When I saw this quote/paraphrase from Sir Mixalot’s 1992 hit in my local gardening group, I thought, “Finally. Somebody gets me.” My gardening life is punctuated by love/hate relationships with plants that have to be cut back and selectively pulled out on a regular basis. Trumpet vine, wisteria, anemone canadensis, sweet woodruff, lily of the valley, and ostrich fern are a few that can be oh-so-readily named. Vigorous climbers are needed to help screen the garden from a neighboring property and...
Tags: Gardening, New York State, Anemone, Ministry of Controversy, Mixalot, Rant's Plants


Huge Rift at American Hort Society over Sale of River Farm

I reported here last October that the American Horticultural Society had decided to sell its historic River Farm headquarters, and mentioned some blowback from the community. Well! Since then the blowback has turned into a tsunami of opposition, including from local legislators, and now half of the AHS board itself!  Yes, despite being told not to speak publicly, five of the ten board members are on record opposing the sale.  Their statement includes this: There is growing evidence that the deci...
Tags: Gardening, Washington Post, Public Gardens, U S Botanic Garden, Ministry of Controversy, American Horticultural Society, Holly Shimizu, River Farm, American Hort Society, Sale of River Farm, Marcia Zech, Terry Hayes Bob Murray Amy Bolton Nancy Ross, Cindy Tyler, Virginia Huge Rift


Fifty Cheers for Garden Rant!

  A book is commissioned. (not mine)   I was recently talking with a friend who has just been commissioned to write a book about a specific genus of plants. He and/or his commissioning editor had had the idea that he might add a section at the end with comments from other people about – this specific genus of plants. Rather like, I imagined, I had done at the end of Deckchair Gardener, where I asked friends to write what their best garden mistakes had been. I think the best of these was possib...
Tags: Gardening, Alan, Alan Titchmarsh, Financial Times, Tim, Sissinghurst, Ministry of Controversy, Tim Richardson, Monty Don, Anne Wareham, Robin Lane Fox, Boring garden writing, Deckchair Gardener


In Defense of Inclusive Biodiversity

As a follow up to Elizabeth’s post last week remarking on the sorrowful tone of Margaret Renkl’s NYT article on non-native spring color, The AHS kindly allowed GardenRant to run an excerpt of my recent column in The American Gardener this month. A link to the full article is available at the end of the excerpt.  Please consider supporting the American Horticultural Society and the valuable work they do by becoming a member this year.  LAST SPRING , a friend volunteered her time to create a poll...
Tags: Asia, Gardening, North America, Elizabeth, Rosa, Bureau of Land Management, Ministry of Controversy, Achillea, American Horticultural Society, Margaret Renkl, Buddleia, Marianne Willburn


They better not be coming after my bulbs!

Who isn’t ready to see spring flowers? I appreciated Susan’s enthusiastic survey of April blooms in Capitol Region public gardens. I’m also eagerly awaiting my own bulb display (shown here from previous springs), which I put together in my front garden and in twelve big containers. I go with erythronium, species tulips, greigii tulips (love that foliage), big hybrid tulips (in containers and as annuals in selected beds) and a few patches of miniature daffodils. A cherry tree blooms right on tim...
Tags: Facebook, Gardening, Nashville, Susan, Susan Harris, Nytimes, Doug Tallamy, Ministry of Controversy, Margaret Renkl, Marianne Willburn, Renkl, Capitol Region


When gaining help means losing control

A guest post by Linda McGivern Here goes—though I really don’t want to admit it because you’ll hate me: I have a gardener. At my winter home in the Caribbean. There. Now that’s out of the way, let the ranting begin. I am sure we who love gardening can agree that when it comes to our landscapes, there is a certain level of, shall we say, control that we like to exert over our plant dominions. Having someone else come in to do one’s garden work not only disrupts the finely tuned supervised coming...
Tags: Google, Gardening, Wikipedia, US, United States, Caribbean, New England, Trinidad And Tobago, Bonaire, Milton, Sandra, Ministry of Controversy, Guest Rants, Linda McGivern, Real Gardening


Jeff Gillman on the Great Compost Tea Debate and the State of Gardening Information Today

Back in 2007, GardenRant hosted a Compost Tea Debate between the two knowledgeable Jeffs: Jeff Gillman’s Possible Benefits and Likely Problems with Compost Tea Jeff Lowenfels’ On Compost Tea: AACA (and Only AACA) Is the Real Deal Jeff Gilman’s Brief Rebuttal (all comments here) I recently asked both Jeffs if they had an update for us, and Jeff Gillman sent me this response.  Susan Fifteen years of GardenRant, and 14 years since the Great Compost Tea debate. I wonder how many of you who are cu...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Gardening, West Virginia, Bob Dylan, Reddit, North Carolina, Venus, Charlotte, University Of North Carolina, Susan, Lowes, Jeff Lowenfels, Jeffs, Ministry of Controversy, Extension Service


A Rose…By Any Other Name?

I have suffered a series of severe afflictions ever since yesterday when a friend of mine forwarded to me a paper called, Restoring Indigenous Names in Taxonomy. My symptoms have included heart palpitations, headaches, depression, anxiety, wooziness, and drunkenness. It’s possible other things are going wrong too. Things I’m feeling but haven’t quite been able to understand or describe. Like my internal organs are swapping functions with each other. I don’t know. Like I said, I’m still trying to...
Tags: Amazon, Facebook, Gardening, New Zealand, Silicon Valley, Boris Johnson, Delaware, Taxonomy, Wright, Stern, Gillman, Shawnee, IPPS, Ministry of Controversy, Scott Beuerlein, Paul Cappiello


No love for street trees

Especially not from utility companies. The image above was taken on a street on the east side of Buffalo, but this scene, or something similar, is common throughout the US, from Pasadena to Lexington to Aroostook. I’m lucky on my street, because our power lines are behind our houses and the tall shade trees on the street can grow unimpeded. That’s not the case in many other Buffalo neighborhoods, where, as you can see, large shade trees are chopped back without much attention to aesthetics. App...
Tags: Gardening, US, Ohio, Buffalo, Pasadena, Lexington, Ministry of Controversy, Aroostook, Midwest Electric


10 Greenest U.S. Presidents

From the GardenRant Archives Originally published 1/21/09, the day after Obama’s first inauguration. Teddy Roosevelt, the winner! Whatever may happen over the next months and years, this has surely been a memorable past few days, and I have been as caught up in them as anyone. It makes me think of the types of policies I would hope for, particularly in terms of the natural world—how we live in it, use it, and change it. But it will take me a while to formulate those hopes and speculations. I...
Tags: Gardening, Yosemite, Obama, Congress, White House, Southeast Asia, Usda, Epa, Lincoln, Johnson, Kennedy, Clinton, National Park Service, Wilson, Nixon, Carter


Why we have a Ministry of Controversy

Do politics belong in the garden or in a garden blog? I suggest that the answer to this question doesn’t matter much; politics are there already and have been for decades. I was reminded of this recently while cleaning out a closet that had long been abandoned as a large hole in the wall to fill with junk. In it, I found several issues of Horticulture, for whom I wrote columns and features at one time. The first one, published on the back page in 2008 (screenshot shown above, illustration by Br...
Tags: Gardening, White House, Obamas, Ministry of Controversy, Brian Adjhar


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


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


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


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


Red? Blue? What if you’re Purple…Or Green.

With all due respect to fellow garden industry bloggers, columnists, authors, speakers, and social media influencers who choose a different path, I chose long ago not to bring politics into my own garden writing.  I strongly believe people need a break from a constant barrage of Red vs. Blue; and there are plenty of contentious horticultural issues to debate for those of us who love to debate them. But after experiencing a deeply troubling 2020 – a year that all of us have reluctantly shared – ...
Tags: Gardening, California, Ministry of Controversy, Robespierre, Marianne Willburn, Bill McCurry, Machelle Lee


‘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


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, Ministry of Controversy, Avent, Kathy Jentz, Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery, Kathy Kathy, Washington Gardener Magazine


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


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 informatio...
Tags: Asia, Europe, Gardening, Minnesota, Usda, Kansas, Epa, Michigan State, Penn State, Native Plants, Ministry of Controversy, Rain Gardens, Deep Roots, U S Botanic Garden Still Ranting, UMD NC State Penn State, Cornell Local Information Fares Better Curious


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, Ministry of Controversy, Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, Borlaug, PBS Americain Experience, PBS Borlaug


‘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 M...
Tags: Gardening, Midwest, Cirque de Soleil, Ministry of Controversy, Lovettsville, MidAtlantic Northeast, Big Box Greeter Hand Sanitizer


A Bittersweet Election Victory: What Invasive Species Can Teach Us About Politics

Guest Rant by Peter Del Tredici I spent a lot of time this pandemic year ripping up oriental bittersweet vines in the woods on the family property in Connecticut. It was my last-ditch effort to save some of the trees that were literally dripping with one- to two-inch-thick cables that reached far up into their crowns. Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is a high-climbing, invasive vine from Asia that kills its victims by overwhelming them with foliage and then slowly strangling them to death—a...
Tags: Asia, Gardening, Joe Biden, Connecticut, Donald Trump, Ministry of Controversy, Arnold Arboretum, Peter Del Tredici, Guest Rants, Cornell University Press


Red? Blue? What if you’re Purple…Or Green.

With all due respect to fellow garden industry bloggers, columnists, authors, speakers, and social media influencers who choose a different path, I chose long ago not to bring politics into my own garden writing.  I strongly believe people need a break from a constant barrage of Red vs. Blue; and there are plenty of contentious horticultural issues to debate for those of us who love to debate them. But after experiencing a deeply troubling 2020 – a year that all of us have reluctantly shared – ...
Tags: Gardening, California, Ministry of Controversy, Robespierre, Bill McCurry, Machelle Lee


Social media and the gardening discourse

The jury is still out on this. For every instance of helpful fellowship and joyful sharing, I can find equal examples of myth-based misinformation and knee-jerk snap judgements (if not out-and-out trolling) made without bothering to read what has been posted. Sadly, it’s possible to turn even the most complex issues into generalized memes. These get shared with groups of “friends,” most of whom post dittohead comments in agreement with whatever absurdity is being accepted as fact. The most recen...
Tags: Gardening, White House, Gmo, Susan, Elizabeth Licata, Ministry of Controversy


A Conversation with Dan Hinkley

A month ago I posted in this space about Daniel Hinkley, about his noted collector’s garden in Indianola, Washington, and his new book about it, Windcliff: A Story of People, Plants, and Gardens.  I admired the book – it’s beautiful and well-written – but I didn’t, and don’t, understand the plant collecting impulse that motivates Hinkley.  In the interest of fairness, however, I called Dan Hinkley a couple of weeks ago to get his side of the story. When I asked him why, with all the plants avai...
Tags: Gardening, Gardens, Dan, University of Washington, Hinkley, Dan Hinkley, Thomas Christopher, Ministry of Controversy, Daniel Hinkley, Windcliff, Plant Collectors, Indianola Washington, People Plants, Rant's Plants


Is Naming Your Garden Pretentious?

Ever ready to object when I hear the word ‘pretentious’ used to condemn something that might warrant a deeper conversation and a bottle of wine, I have recently found myself defending the practice of naming one’s garden to [apparently] less pretentious gardening friends; and I thought that it might be worth throwing out the topic to a larger audience. I originally brought up the issue after watching a video posted by horticulturist and fellow tropical enthusiast Irvin Etienne, who with an iPhone...
Tags: Google, Gardening, UK, England, Martha Stewart, America, Indiana, US Postal Service, Kenya, Allen, Monty, Irvin, Madame Ganna Walska, Canada UK, Dan Hinkley, Facebook Friends


Now it’s Cultivar Shaming?

Admittedly, mentioning a trivial controversy in the gardening world today – with everything that’s happening!! – seems ridiculous, but that’s exactly what I thought when I saw this graphic posted to a local gardening Facebook group. And accompanying the graphic, this text: Recently, I spent the weekend on a property with a lot of native cultivars and there were no pollinators on those plants. Buy from your native plant society and you’ll get the true species. Or find a native plant nursery that ...
Tags: Facebook, Gardening, Susan Harris, Nancy Reagan, Ministry of Controversy, Jeanna, Cultivars, Nativars, Joe Joe Pye


Trump’s National Garden of American Heroes in MY Neighborhood?

Let me introduce a national park you’ve never heard of – the Greenbelt National Park, 1,200 acres of woods, trails and campsites just 10 miles outside of DC. It’s even near a subway station, so no wonder it’s popular with visitors to the area, domestic and international. City residents sometimes camp here, too, enjoying an easy get-away in nature. Its 174 campsites cost just $20 a night. Here’s a nice video about the park. The park is less than a mile from my house, so I’ve visite...
Tags: Gardening, Maryland, America, Reagan, United States, Ronald Reagan, Nashville, Dc, Fdr, Martin Luther King Jr, Public Gardens, Trump, Marshall, Greenbelt, Antonin Scalia, Scalia


It’s gardener vs. gardener season

I’ll either leave this or rip it out and replace it because it is really too much. Pick a side, because the middle ground is disappearing. What’s true on the political front is equally true on the gardening front. Over the summer, I have watched gardeners in my region go all out for natives, ruthlessly getting rid of plants they—admittedly—like, once they find out their buddleia/shasta daisies/forsythia/clematis are “useless.” The daisies especially made me sad, because I’d love to have a big...
Tags: Gardening, Uncategorized, US, Elizabeth Licata, Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy