Jane Perrone, “Plantfluencer” and Brit, Joins GGVideos

Houseplants are HOT, according to the New York Times and all sorts of prognosticators and social media-watchers. So I looked for houseplant YouTubers on my own but found the topic pretty lacking in video instruction. Lifestyle YouTubers may occasionally show viewers their favorite houseplants, but do they even know what they’re talking about? And do I know enough about houseplants to judge? Definitely not! That’s where I got the idea to hire a “Friend of GardenRant” and guest Ranter from way back in our early days as “Houseplant Editor” for the nonprofit Good Gardening Videos I edit. That’s Jane Perrone here. She’s so knowledgeable about houseplants, she even has a popular podcast about them called On The Ledge. Over the next few weeks Jane will scan the houseplant offerings on YouTube – single videos and whole channels devoted to houseplants – and pick the best for GGVideos to promote. And that’s not all she agreed to do in our Skype conversation. Because she’s British and part o..
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The Sower

Sower with Setting Sun “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” Vincent Van Gogh I doubt, at my age, I will be sowing too many wild oats. There are, instead, new seeding notions that shape my dreams. I owe my life-long interest in seed germination to Miss Goodwin, my first grade teacher in the late 1950s. All the kids sowed green bean seeds in milk cartons filled with schoolyard dirt. I witnessed my first miracle back then—and not my last. I was hooked as soon as I saw the first, mysterious, blanched cotyledon push through the soil, followed by sun-drenched, chlorophyll-filled green leaves. Google image I moved on to tomatoes, squash and marigolds before plunging into penstemons, pulsatillas and primroses. Over the last eight years, as the planet recorded five of the hottest years on record, I added a fourth gear—an escape hatch—with persimmons, oaks and mockernut hickories. Mockernut hickory Tree seeds are part of a recent dream that goes like this: I try to shake off the ..
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Holiday Decorating for the Irreligious and Talentless

I recently searched on YouTube for “Christmas decorations with natural materials” and found a bunch of crafty people in the U.S. and England. This confirmed my assessment that I’m not one of them. This is as “Christmasy” as my front door will get this season. My goal is really decorating for the winter, so I use colors that don’t look like they need to go away on New Year’s Day, like red always does. I like blue, with a bit of silver. In mid-winter I’ll replace the Juniper bits, and leave it all there until March. In these pots next to my front door, where my favorite Iresines once dazzled, I use Juniper clippings with bits of possibly tacky extras from a craft store. On my front patio, where ginormous Coleuses wow visitors in season, I used more Juniper clippings, this time paired with fake holly berries. The trailing Sedum overwinters there just fine. (It’s S. sarmentosum, which grows around here like a weed.) In my back yard, where the pots hold a different color of Iresine all ..
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Help a garden center get through the winter: buy a kokedama. Or an orchid. Or something.

The next issue of the magazine I edit features heritage businesses in Western New York—the ones that have lasted more than 100 years. Amazingly, two we’re covering are garden centers (and there are more gardening-related companies we couldn’t fit in). I say amazingly because there are built-in problems with maintaining independent gardening businesses in cold climates. Not to mention the big box chains (we have several) that pretend to have everything the home gardener needs. How do these long-running garden centers do it? A lot of it just has to do with standards of service and degrees of alertness to important trends. A lot of it has to do with basic sound business practice. Much of it has to do with customer loyalty that has endured over generations. Still, around here, all nurseries and a couple of garden centers take at least part of the winter months off. One 100-plus-year-old garden center thrives through the winter—much as landscapers do—thanks to a huge snow removal departme..
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GardenRanters in Print

I was happy to discover a Plant in the Spotlight article in this month’s American Gardener Magazine by fellow Ranter Carol Reese. She’s described as a horticulture specialist with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. No doubt “GardenRant blogger” was omitted for space. Then in yesterday’s New York Times I spied a book review by GardenRant co-founder Amy Stewart. We’re following Amy’s success with her Kopp Sisters novels, which are being turned into a series on Amazon Prime! GardenRanters in Print originally appeared on GardenRant on December 3, 2018.
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Campus Garden Teaches, Feeds, and Solves Runoff

This garden on the campus of the University of Maryland isn’t about prettifying the campus, though it IS an improvement. It’s about teaching students how to grow food, manage stormwater and help the bee population. It’s tellingly located between the School of Public Health and the Recreation Center. It all started when a food security question was asked by a student: Where can I grow food on campus? That led to a graduate student initiating the project in 2008, first by asking for 3-4 acres of space. Ha!! What was eventually allocated is a tiny sloping patch between two buildings, a space that couldn’t possibly be used for anything else. So an unsightly hill covered with invasives is now an attractive and super-useful amenity, one of four food gardens on campus. Karen Petroff, who’s responsible for all green facilities on campus, explains the watering system. How the edibles are watered is pretty genius. The raised beds and rain barrel stands (built by students), along with carefully ..
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Gardening inspiration, one quote at a time  by  Bob Hill

As winter moves in, gardening inspiration lives indoors on the walls of our sunlit plant room from November to March, pithy little sayings that are written on wood, steel and ceramic and intended to keep the horticultural flame flickering until April reappears. And even the lame ones offer some winter charm until we get to go outside again: “Gardening is just another day at the plant” and “Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt.” These gentle reminders are nailed to our plant room wall just below some enormous photos of yellow rudbeckia, red hibiscus and white mums, more reasons to believe spring lurks in the shadows. Just below all that is our hot tub, the most necessary item in the room to get us through until the Easter Bunny arrives. It’s all part of the process. The 1860s English poet-laureate Alfred Austin lives on a plaque in our plant room, too, just above the hot tub. The poor guy had to follow Tennyson, so his poet-laureate appointment came wit..
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Gardening inspiration, one quote at a time

As winter moves in, gardening inspiration lives indoors on the walls of our sunlit plant room from November to March, pithy little sayings that are written on wood, steel and ceramic and intended to keep the horticultural flame flickering until April reappears. And even the lame ones offer some winter charm until we get to go outside again: “Gardening is just another day at the plant” and “Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt.” These gentle reminders are nailed to our plant room wall just below some enormous photos of yellow rudbeckia, red hibiscus and white mums, more reasons to believe spring lurks in the shadows. Just below all that is our hot tub, the most necessary item in the room to get us through until the Easter Bunny arrives. It’s all part of the process. The 1860s English poet-laureate Alfred Austin lives on a plaque in our plant room, too, just above the hot tub. The poor guy had to follow Tennyson, so his poet-laureate appointment came wit..
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Plant-Based Seasons Greetings at the U.S. Botanic Garden  by  Susan Harris

This time of year, visitors entering the U.S. Botanic Garden get this rather somber view of the U.S. Capitol across the street. Inside, from now until New Year’s Day, the views are festive as all get out. I attended a press preview this week before the throngs start lining up for selfies in front of everything photo-worthy. (Visitor details here.) Here in the central atrium are not just the poinsettias and decorated trees you can see anywhere. The highlights are 12 D.C. landmarks, like this Washington Monument replica, made entirely out of plant parts. Click here to find out which plants were used for each one. The Smithsonian’s newish Museum of African-American History and Culture is returning for its second year on display. DC’s magnificent Union Station makes its debut here, with topiary bears because who doesn’t love them? Visitors pose in front of the U.S. Capitol Building replica. Whole families and twin babies were posing for Instagram or the perfect Christmas cards. Now f..
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Plant-Based Seasons Greetings at the U.S. Botanic Garden

This time of year, visitors entering the U.S. Botanic Garden get this rather somber view of the U.S. Capitol across the street. Inside, from now until New Year’s Day, the views are festive as all get out. I attended a press preview this week before the throngs start lining up for selfies in front of everything photo-worthy. (Visitor details here.) Here in the central atrium are not just the poinsettias and decorated trees you can see anywhere. The highlights are 12 D.C. landmarks, like this Washington Monument replica, made entirely out of plant parts. Click here to find out which plants were used for each one. The Smithsonian’s newish Museum of African-American History and Culture is returning for its second year on display. DC’s magnificent Union Station makes its debut here, with topiary bears because who doesn’t love them? Visitors pose in front of the U.S. Capitol Building replica. Whole families and twin babies were posing for Instagram or the perfect Christmas cards. Now f..
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