Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf opens with Oudolf pulling out colored pens and drawing, with his left hand, bright squiggles, slashes, curlicues and abbreviated Latin plant names. Oudolf’s paper drawings and seasonality become seductive themes of Thomas Piper’s film. “Yeah, it may look wild, but it [his gardens] shouldn’t be wild. This is what you’d like to see in nature,” Oudolf explains. I watched Five Seasons in mid-May at Louisville’s Speed Museum Cinema. Thomas Piper, the film’s director and producer, was introduced by Tom Smarr, who worked with Oudolf on the High Line in New York. Smarr is now the Horticulture Director of 21stCentury Parks and the new Parklands of Floyds Fork in Louisville. First drawn by Oudolf’s garden aesthetics, Piper was soon enticed by Oudolf—the character. Oudolf cuts an impressive figure. He’s tall and handsome with a full head of stylish silver hair. The 73-year-old Oudolf doesn’t come off like a “rock star” or “cool guy,” according to Piper ..
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Returning a Town’s Perennial Border to Lawn?  by  Susan Harris

Buttresses and bas-relief sculptures seen behind Knockout roses Of all the historic buildings in my town, my favorite is what’s now the Community Center, so it’s full of artists, dancers, seniors and really everyone else, every day. I love the Arc Deco buttresses on the front facade. And I wrote here about the bas-relief sculptures between them depicting the Preamble to the Constitution, with the excuse to write about it here that they illustrate “Promote the General Welfare” with someone gardening. Speaking of gardening, a few years back the City Horticulturist was a real gardener, so of course he ripped up a prominent patch of turfgrass and installed in its place a large border of perennials and roses. If you’ve started and maintained perennial beds yourself you won’t be surprised to learn that once the real gardener was gone and a regular maintenance crew took over, using power tools only, no hand-weeding or herbicides (after complaints), the garden changed for the worse. The pho..
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Returning a Town’s Perennial Border to Lawn?

Buttresses and bas-relief sculptures seen behind Knockout roses Of all the historic buildings in my town, my favorite is what’s now the Community Center, so it’s full of artists, dancers, seniors and really everyone else, every day. I love the Arc Deco buttresses on the front facade. And I wrote here about the bas-relief sculptures between them depicting the Preamble to the Constitution, with the excuse to write about it here that they illustrate “Promote the General Welfare” with someone gardening. Speaking of gardening, a few years back the City Horticulturist was a real gardener, so of course he ripped up a prominent patch of turfgrass and installed in its place a large border of perennials and roses. If you’ve started and maintained perennial beds yourself you won’t be surprised to learn that once the real gardener was gone and a regular maintenance crew took over, using power tools only, no hand-weeding or herbicides (after complaints), the garden changed for the worse. The pho..
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New Look for Gardeners Freaked out about Lyme Disease

Apparel for today’s gardener? News about the rapid spread of tick-borne diseases, especially the life-changing-if not-treated-in-time Lyme Disease, has me so freaked out that I’m now afraid to tend my garden, much less take a walk in the woods. I…New Look for Gardeners Freaked out about Lyme Disease originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 4, 2018.
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Backyard Carbon Farming  by  Thomas Christopher

If there was a twelve step program for gardeners like me, I would begin each session of course by introducing myself to the room and then admit to my addiction: I love the look of a freshly dug and raked bed. The fine, brown loam, all the clods broken into crumbs, the smooth, billiard-table-flat surface, is synonymous with spring in my mind. I picked up this appetite as a student at the New York Botanical Garden, from the old world gardeners who had brought it with them from Italy and Germany. Theirs was a tradition that extended back to the 18th century at least. That’s when Jethro Tull (the farmer not the rock group) popularized the notion that the fertility of the soil depends on pulverizing and aerating it. In fact, such cultivation can lead to a temporary boost in fertility, for incorporating more air into the soil will speed the decomposition of its organic portion, which releases a short-lived surge of plant nutrients. Long term, however, the effect of such practices is to de..
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Backyard Carbon Farming

If there was a twelve step program for gardeners like me, I would begin each session of course by introducing myself to the room and then admit to my addiction: I love the look of a freshly dug and raked…Backyard Carbon Farming originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 7, 2018.
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Austin: ten years later and even better  by  Elizabeth Licata

Cecropiamoth caterpillar at the Wildflower Center More than 90 garden bloggers got together for three days of garden touring in Austin last weekend. It is a return to the first such get-together, which took place in April, 2008. I was one of those Austin, 2008 bloggers, organized a similar weekend in Buffalo in 2010, and have attended other Flings, as they’re called, in Chicago, Seattle, Asheville, Toronto and the DC region. (I missed the ones in San Francisco, Portland, and Minneapolis.) So there was no way I could miss the return to Austin and boy, am I glad I didn’t. Pam Penick’s pool area—we saw many great pools The great thing about these Flings is that they are pure garden-viewing pleasure. No sessions, few (if any) talks, and lots of time to hang out. There is always at least one group dinner with raffles and a couple short speeches. One can spend an entire weekend with professional colleagues without once having to sit in a poorly lit hotel seminar room with inexplicable carpe..
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Austin: ten years later and even better

Cecropiamoth caterpillar at the Wildflower Center More than 90 garden bloggers got together for three days of garden touring in Austin last weekend. It is a return to the first such get-together, which took place in April, 2008. I was…Austin: ten years later and even better originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 8, 2018.
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Fantasy Forest  by  Allen Bush

Every neighborhood needs a microforest. The ingredients require a passionate, knowledgeable conductor, committed volunteers and a patch of land. Curious children, nurtured by good teachers and mentors, will come running. Connie May is the Fantasy Forest conductor. Connie was the wildflower propagator at the beloved (former) Shooting Star Nursery for many years before she brought Fantasy Forest to life in 2012. She had been inspired after reading how Doug Tallamy sustained wildlife with native plants. And then Connie had a brainstorm. A community garden had begun on one end of Dolly Graham Park, and there was adjacent land waiting for a good idea. Why not a forest! Connie received a small grant to get the ball rolling. “Nature is food for kids. If kids are not getting outdoors, they’re not being fed,” she said. Two weeks ago in Frankfort, while I was standing on the corner of 2nd and Logan Streets, eight kids came running past me and down the hill toward the enchanted, woodland be..
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Fantasy Forest

Every neighborhood needs a microforest. The ingredients require a passionate, knowledgeable conductor, committed volunteers and a patch of land. Curious children, nurtured by good teachers and mentors, will come running. Connie May is the Fantasy Forest conductor. Connie was…Fantasy Forest originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 9, 2018.
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