The HORROR (II) by Elizabeth Licata

Halloween could not be better timed in terms of horticultural nightmares for the Western New York gardener. It’s a wet, gray time; leaves are falling, perennial foliage is shriveling, and outdoor tasks are undertaken in an atmosphere of chilly reluctance. Welcome to my world of fright and despair. Ugh This is what they call fall interest. Beware I neglected to send the check to the Farmer Pirates, so this bucket’s been sitting with the same stuff in it for months now. Bulbapalooza Really? What was the thinking here? Jungleland Oh no. It won’t be a hassle keeping these alive through the winter. Terror from above They wait. Just in time to ruin Thanksgiving weekend, these trees will empty themselves, covering everything in a sodden mass. What happened? It seems like only days ago, I had a relatively attractive exterior space, with a reasonable amount of color and scent. It was nice! Boo, I say. Boo. The HORROR (II) originally appeared on Garden Rant on October 31, 2016.
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Turning a City Corner into a Garden by Susan Harris

I got really tired of looking at this weedy corner, just a block from my home. A city-owned spot, it was filled with poison ivy, English ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, and volunteer shrubs impeding driver visibility. So in August I began The Great Clean-up, which yielded a ginormous pile of plant material to be hauled away. Unfortunately, the clean-up also yielded this sting and about nine others like it. I took this selfie and posted it online, looking for help identifying whatever had attacked me en masse as I was pulling English ivy away from the base of a tree. I had neither seen nor heard any insects, so was surprised by what felt like needles suddenly jabbing into assorted parts of my body, including spots covered with layers of clothing. Whatever the insects were (probably some ground-nesting wasp), they hurt like hell and had me totally spooked. So I waited until this month to continue the clean-up, in hopes that they’d be gone and thankfully, they were. (I’m told they were kill..
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Can you guess the species of this pupa?

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. The other night in the kitchen as we were cleaning up after dinner, I came across a small green caterpillar on the counter. It must have come from some of our produce. I immediately wanted to photograph it and get it under the scope. But also, it was late, I had just washed a bunch of dishes and I was feeling lazy so I put it in a mason jar with the intention of dealing with it the next day. When I picked up the jar the next morning I didn’t see the small green caterpillar. I thought maybe it had escaped. Or maybe the little rascal had pupated! I opened the lid and my suspicions were confirmed. A beautiful little green chrysalis was attached to the lid. Let’s get oriented. Below you can see that this pupae is upside down on the lid. It created a sling out of silk in order to stabilize and attach itself to the lid. That’s the dorsal side (back) of the thorax and the wings will form wrapped around the front of the body. The ..
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Kentucky’s Ark Encounter Stalled in Dry Dock by Allen Bush

The re-creation of Noah’s ark, sitting in dry dock, six miles from Dry Ridge, Kentucky, looks like a gargantuan Pez dispenser laid on its side. The ark sits in the distance across a dry lake meant to be symbolic of the Biblical flood, but the lake doesn’t hold water. Weeds claimed dominion over the lakebed by mid-October. Gardens that might be planned will have to wait. If “gardens are an “expression of faith” and “the embodiment of hope,” then the Ark Encounter, in Northern Kentucky, is in desperate need of salvation. There is no tree of life at the Ark Encounter. There are scarcely any trees at all. The bedraggled landscaping is now a cheap, boring and paltry mix of chrysanthemums, begonias and kale that you might see planted at any fast food joint. “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground…” Northern Kentucky was once completely tree covered. Ask yourself what will keep tourists coming back once they’ve seen the ark. Consider praying for epic gardens. In c..
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This is the other thing I like about David Austin roses by Elizabeth Licata

On Saturday, my stylist was showing me her long hedge of Knock Outs (various colors, don’t know the type) in front of her house and I have to admit I was a bit jealous. She then remarked that she needed to “cut them all back,” and I tried to tactfully urge her against any such action at this time. She probably will anyway. The next day, I glanced back at my hidden garden/jungle-of-weeds that takes advantage of a narrow south-facing space between my garage and the neighbor’s back garden. I was pleased to see that my ridiculously huge David Austin ‘Darcey Bussell’ was loaded with viable buds. They were also on really tall stems, just as you’d see with a hybrid tea. (The DA English roses tend to have sprays, more like floribundas.) I could easily have cut 5-foot stems, like the novelty ones you see around Valentine’s Day. These roses get going in May and continue into November. The catalog description, like most of the DAs, falsely promises short shrubbiness, but all of my roses from thi..
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3 Take-aways from Garden Writer Meet-ups by Susan Harris

I love hanging out with other garden writers, and have done quite a bit of that this year – at several local and regional events and especially, the Garden Blogger Fling in Minneapolis and the Garden Writers conference in Atlanta. I caught up with old friends, made new ones, and had fun. But did I learn anything useful? Pick up any tips? Three take-aways come to mind. On a tour-bus in Minneapolis I noticed several bloggers using a portable iPhone charger that’s surprisingly small, lightweight, and cheap – just 13 bucks. I bought one and now use it all the time. To illustrate how small it is for this post I asked one of my cats to pose with it – because we just don’t have enough cat pics here on the Rant. In Atlanta I attended a talk by Seth Reed and Mason Day about social media in which we were told that the best way to reach gardeners these days is with Pinterest. My first reaction was along the lines of “Oh crap!” at the thought of doing yet another social media platform. But then..
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We have a winner! by Elizabeth Licata

Congratulations, Chris Bosacki! I will be contacting you via email. Thanks for playing, everybody! Some great tips, too, like: -planting grape hyacinths, which throw out a few green leaves in fall, as a reminder not to dig up existing bulbs -plant a wall of daffodils around a tulip bed -use rocks as vole/etc. deterrent -chicken wire works Happy bulbing. We have a winner! originally appeared on Garden Rant on October 20, 2016.
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Gifts of Autumn by Evelyn Hadden

In temperate climates, autumn showers us with a cornucopia of visual stimulation before we enter the season of dormancy. Here are some of my favorite examples of this season’s gifts of beauty. Food. Is there anything more glorious than the last harvest, spread across the dining room table? Not only can deciduous foliage take on strikingly different colors, but also the leaves may crumple and twist into unusual shapes, and their positions change too, as they bend or drift to the ground. Many grasses relax into graceful fountains, and the low-angled sun sets their color-bleached heads dramatically aglow. A loss can also be a gain when fallen foliage reveals hidden views. Amid the many changes, evergreens delight with their reassuring consistency of shape and color. As the lowering temperatures chase away the flowers, every lingering bloom is that much more precious. What do you appreciate most about your garden in autumn? Gifts of Autumn originally appeared on Garden Rant on Octo..
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Here come the bulbs—and a GIVEAWAY by Elizabeth Licata

And that’s not close to all of them. I did it again. Slightly over 1,000 bulbs have either arrived or are on their way to my smallish urban property. By far the majority of them are tulips that will mostly be planted in big pots, but there are also 50 tazetta, 200 hyacinths, and various narcissus, erythronium, and lilies. I laid off on the scilla, muscari, and galanthus this year because what I’ve already planted seems to be establishing. Bright Parrot in Feb. The hyacinths will all be forced, with some given as holiday gifts. I’m also forcing a bunch of tulips, mainly parrots because I love the way they brighten up the house in late February, when you really need it. Unlike many other gardeners I know, deer are not an issue in my neighborhood. What I do have is fairly deep shade where the tulips should go, so there’s even less chance of return than hybrid tulips would have in any conditions. That’s why big pots are the answer. They don’t take up space in the garden and I can put i..
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Remedial Gardening by Thomas Christopher

My wife Suzanne and I used to have our best fights in the garden. I don’t remember her actually throwing a trowel at me, but on several occasions I’m sure she came close. I’m also sure it was my fault. I had an idea that we would garden together. That she would hold the plant while I dug the hole. Or vice versa. But when I envisioned this scene of horticultural harmony, I didn’t consider a couple of facts. First, that I had married a strong-minded woman who wouldn’t necessarily agree with me on which plant to place where. And second, that, thanks to an old-fashioned apprenticeship with European-trained gardeners, my idea of cooperation was a lot like that of Captain Bligh on the Bounty. As the senior in gardening experience, I felt entitled to issue directives and advise on technique. Suzanne, who comes from a large family of Irish women (five sisters, no brothers) doesn’t tolerate mansplaining. Eventually, after enough heated exchanges, I began asking other couples how they gardened..
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