GardenRant Welcomes Contributors Scott and Carol by Garden Rant

GardenRant debuted back in June of 2006 with the mission to “uproot the gardening world” and be a home to “opinionated” garden writers like founders Amy Stewart, Michele Owens and Susan Harris. Twelve years later, Amy and Michele have moved on but GardenRant continues to attract strong voices in garden writing – like the new contributors we’re proud to introduce today. And as you can tell from their bios, these newest Ranters know a LOT about plants. Scott Beuerlein is the Manager of Botanical Garden Outreach at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Scott is Chair of the Boone County Arboretum Collections Committee, past Chairman of Taking Root, past President of the Cincinnati Flower Growers Association, and Past Chairman of the Northern Kentucky Urban and Community Forestry Council. He has published over 90 magazine articles, including in Ohio Gardener, Horticulture Magazine,and American Nurseryman. He currently writes the “Only in Ohio” column for Ohio Gardener. Scott is an ON..
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DJ Khaled Loves his Garden! by Susan Harris

I only know about hiphop impresario DJ Khaled because of his star turn as a garden-lover in this video by the New York Times. Gazing adoringly at the plants in his garden, he says: I love you. I love you. This is Jerusalem. I call this Jerusalem. This is so peaceful. I drink my tea. I come out here, me and my son. We meditate and catch a vibe. It feels like a whole other country. The sun is shining on me. The key is respect your Mother. Respect Mother Nature at all times. From the Times I also learned that gardening is “the pastime that has kept him grounded during his ascent from Miami disc jockey to auteur of ubiquitous club bangers…In his spare time, Mr. Khaled tends, along with some hired help, lush gardens at this home and another in Miami, or at least looks at them while doing other things. “Say I had to get on a conference call, I’d go outside by the hammock, by the flowers, and just sit there, and if it’s a stressful call, I really get close to the flowers,” he said. “P..
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Tweed Jackets: The Answer to Horticulture’s Waning Reputation? by Scott Beuerlein

The Problem of Looking Stupid Shovel, soil, sweat, is digging a hole as mindless as it looks? Here’s how to look stupid: start digging a hole. Einstein, himself, would look like an idiot while digging a hole. All through history, people have needed holes, and no one has ever looked smart digging one. And no one has ever stood near a digging person, eagerly observing and taking notes, in order to better themselves. Unfortunately for horticulturists, we dig holes, often in full view of people dwelling in their homes or driving in their cars, and, lo and behold, the average American thinks we’re dumb. As such, many of them feel superior to us, awkward in our presence, and, determined to keep their children from entering the vocation. To this end, they also make damned sure to surround their homes with the blandest landscape they can afford. Nope. Nothing to be inspired about here. Suzie, put down that flower and learn to type code. That there is a real career. Ironically enough, the rea..
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Stop the dumb lists by Elizabeth Licata

Poisonous plant, to be avoided Certain garden-related websites (and I use the term loosely) like to send out annotated lists—top ten this, ten worst that, six ways to do such and such. And the most disturbing mini-trend in this listicle clickbait is the alarmist listing of “Ten Plants You Should Never Grow,” or (from an eblast I just got) “The Worst Plants for Your Yard.” There are rarely, if ever, any trusted gardening authorities or scientific studies cited as backup for these lists. No, just phrases like “the consensus is,” “generally speaking,” “studies have shown” (with no link to any), and “gardeners cite.” You can rest assured that there will always be one or two plants that you’ve never thought would cause any problems and that a plant you’ve been coaxing along for two or three years will be called wildly invasive. The other thing these listmakers love is POISON. Beware! You and your pets are in danger! If you’re snacking on your herbaceous border, you do have some issues th..
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Grow bulbs for their foliage? Sure! by Elizabeth Licata

Erythronium Pagoda Many cite the long-lasting and unsightly foliage of spring bulbs as a reason not to grow them. I have two answers for that. One is my ongoing strategy: grow the temperamental tulip hybrids that don’t perennialize as annuals. I find the pleasure they give and the fun of changing them up more than worth the cost. But there’s another, even better, strategy. Grow bulbs for their foliage. Here are some of my favorites where the foliage is almost as striking as the flowers. Best of all, this appears very early in the spring and lasts for weeks. Erythronium The small, lily-like flowers are exquisite, but so are the glossy, mottled leaves. I wish they lasted all summer. They’re coming up now (under a thin but tedious layer of ice/snow/whatever). The Pagoda hybrid provides the showiest; natives have more mottling but aren’t as big and glossy. This Greigii are playing nicely with the nearby Brunnera. Greigii tulips It depends what variety you get of these. Mary Ann and Or..
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Brent and Becky’s Farm, Store and Knicknacks by Susan Harris

I grew up near Richmond, VA, about an hour from Brent and Becky’s, the beloved flower bulb company in Gloucester, VA. But it took a regional event of the Garden Writers Association for me to finally see this very special place. GWA members partying in the home of Brent and Becky Heath last weekend. Photo by Jay Hutchins. I’ll start the tour with the 28-acre farm and homestead, bought by Brent’s grandfather when he started the company (then called the Daffodil Mart) back in 1900. Above, a view across the daffodil fields to the Heaths’ new home on the river, designed especially for entertaining. The front of the Heaths’ new home and entertainment center Above and below, display gardens are everywhere. The Heaths’ farm and home overlook the North River, which leads to the Chesapeake Bay. Inside their home, bulb art and knicknacks are everywhere, with daffodils dominating the scene. The Brent and Becky’s store and display gardens are about about a mile down the road. Eight acres of..
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Steel Magnolias by Allen Bush

“I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” -Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias Our saucer magnolia had a tiny bit of stamina left, but I didn’t think it was worth saving. Sapsuckers had just about taken the life out of it three years ago. I wanted to cut it down. Rose would have none of it. My buddy the arborist Robert Rollins intervened. He listened to both impassioned sides. His advice: take it easy; give the tree the tree a little time. Robert’s crew drastically cut back the dead limbs, approaching one-quarter of the entire canopy. Dozens of weak sucker sprouts grew that first year. Surprisingly, since then, the tree has kept chugging along. I kept asking around. Sapsucker shot holes. Paul Cappiello, Executive Director of Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, Kentucky, emailed an explanation of what’s going on with our stressed tree. “It could be that the sapsuckers have so cut off the upper part of the plant that the plant is forcing out sucke..
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Easter with Cherry Blossoms and Tourists by Susan Harris

Midday Easter Sunday I took the subway downtown with my new bike (love it!) to check out the cherry blossoms and see what other plants might be putting on a show for the tourists. On the trip I noticed people in costume and learned that they were on their way to Awesome Con, which is DC’s version of Comic Con. One attendee happy to pose for my camera was dressed as poison ivy. (Hey, if it’s plant-related, it’s fodder for a garden blog.) The sky was grey and cloudy and the cherry blossoms not quite at their peak, so I hope you’ll forgive the less than gorgeous iPhone photography. The conditions weren’t stopping the swarms of visitors at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial from memorializing the day. Readers may remember that I’m not a fan of this memorial, but I was happy to see that it’s looking a bit more welcoming after four years of plant growth. (Too bad there aren’t any plants to do that for an even less popular national memorial in DC.) And it’s great to see how meaningful thi..
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Tree Planting: How to Choose the Right Planting Site

Tree Planting Tree Planting: How to Choose the Right Planting Site By Arbor Day Foundation | April 6, 2018 Guest post by John Lang of Friendly Tree. With the world bursting into life all around us, spring is the perfect season to plant a tree. Many homeowners spend lots of time and energy choosing the perfect tree and digging the right sized hole, yet take very little time to consider the planting site itself. Trees have very specific site requirements that should be considered before they are given a new home. Planting a tree is not like hanging a picture; it is very difficult (and expensive) to move if you don’t get it just right. Here are some steps you can take for tree planting success: First, choose the right species for your yard It can be tempting to pick the prettiest tree in the nursery, but looks aren’t everything. You’ll need to determine what kind of tree will do best in your climate, soil, and growing conditions. Trees that require full sun need a minimum..
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Despite the evil, I’m sticking with Facebook by Elizabeth Licata

This morning’s share After a brief flurry of “I’m leaving” posts, the talk about Facebook’s crimes has died away from my feed. Everything seems back to normal (whatever that is). It’s not surprising, because for those who have made this network part of their daily routine and would like to continue the interaction, good substitutes are really not there. The closest, I suppose, is Twitter, but I like the long talk. Then there is Instagram (owned by FB), which is great for sharing images. Neither really comes close to offering similar, extended interaction. I suppose Instagram could, but it doesn’t, at least not on my feed. Though I don’t love it for random gardening questions, where expertise is called for, there are plenty of reasons for gardeners to stay on FB. Here are some of mine: The Garden Professors A brief scroll this am turns up interesting discussions on raised beds, vermicomposting, bulb soaking and more. And it’s fun (though not for the hosts, I suppose) to see people ge..
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