Are there Furry Creatures that Give You Fury?

Modern painting Leap of Rabbit from 1911 by Amadeu de Sousa Cardoso shows a rabbit leaping in a garden.
Leap of Rabbit (1911)
Amadeu de Sousa Cardoso

“I Have Elephants in MY Garden so What’s YOUR Problem?” One of the best titles for a garden talk I’ve seen comes from Marie Butler, the now-retired coordinator of landscape for the Virginia Zoological Park in Norfolk.

You have to admit that however impossible to win your back yard battles may seem, Read more

Sound of the Season: Johan Wagenaar’s Power of Spring

note: Often the purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Most links are independent, but some help support this web site. If you prefer, feel free to donate instead.

“Spring arrived – a beautiful, kind-hearted spring, without spring’s usual promises and deceptions, and one of those rare springs which plants, animals, and people rejoice in together.”

Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina

berries of leatherleaf Mahonia, commonly known as grape hollySince spring is a season associated with planting more than harvest, I thought these berries of grape holly–that just developed–could remind us what a rich source of inspiration it’s been to artists over the centuries and that we can (nearly always) enjoy that harvest whenever we want. Read more

The Surprising History Behind, Well, April Showers and Wet Places

note: Often the purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Most links are independent, but some help support this web site. If you prefer, feel free to donate instead.

an oil painting shows scene of clouds in a green valley called April Showers, Napa Valley by Jules Tavernier, made around 1880
April Showers, Napa Valley (around 1880)
Jules Tavernier

As children we learn April showers bring May flowers. For all I know children today still learn it. Among young adults and young-at-heart there is one group dedicated to helping spread the moisture, primarily with silly merchandise such as stickers and shirts: MoistMyTown.

The basis for calling a place “moist” appears to have nothing to do with weather

Read more

Get Affirmative and Transformational Results When You Consider the Social and Psychological Side of Gardening

a tray of seedlings showing sprouts just about an inch high

Here are two stories about fitting in, standing out, and being yourself, one from Scotland and one from Wales. Both stories align with this adage from Bernard Baruch that I hope you know already:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Then there’s this query from author and speaker Ian Wallace:

“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Coming from Scotland, Tom Smart makes some really fine points about gardening and the pleasure of being outdoors. He describes a recent conversation with a person who complained about cutting his lawn Read more

Build Anticipation With an Allée

note: Often the purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Most links are independent, but a few help support this web site. If you prefer, feel free to donate instead.

A color photo showing a driveway lined with Callery pear trees loaded with white flowers.
Callery pear makes a statement out of a driveway.

Not everyone owns enough property to have an allée. Other people do but live in hilly places; uneven terrain is simply not suited to creating this kind of effect. But where it can be done, ooh la la, does it ever create a sense of anticipation and arrival!

As we’ll see, an allée does far more than define space by creating an axis aligned with the house. To begin with the obvious, it’s also practical and good for the Earth. Canopied pavement is the best sort because it heats up less in summer. If I could design all parking lots, believe me, they wouldn’t look the way they always do!

Centuries ago, a tree-lined drive became a traditional treatment for the entrance to an estate. In the United States, I think most examples were in the southeast. Most of these are gone, but a few are still around. Shall we have a little look? Read more

Experience Nature’s Radiant Beauty Through An April Sonnet

white anemones blooming in a woodland setting, with leaves just starting to come out on the trees and shrubsNo days such honored days as these! While yet
Fair Aphrodite reigned, men seeking wide
For some fair thing which should forever bide
On earth, her beauteous memory to set
In fitting frame that no age could forget,
Her name in lovely April’s name did hide,
And leave it there, eternally allied
To all the fairest flowers Spring did beget. Read more

Sound of the Season: A Morning in Spring

note: Often the purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Most links are independent, but some help support this web site. If you prefer, feel free to donate instead.

The oil painting Bluebells (1899) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema shows two women, one sitting on the ground, one standing by a tree, in a refreshing woodland scene loaded with bluebells in flower.
Bluebells (1899)
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

In the late 1990s, I had a recording of this piece, D’un matin de printemps, for more than a year before I listened to it one day on accident. Boy was I ever surprised! I had certain expectations about a piece titled From a Morning in Spring written by a French woman, so I had avoided it on purpose until then. The reality was nothing like I thought. What the music presented is a conception of spring I still find difficult to explain. Read more

Do You Appreciate the Wabi-Sabi Effect and Early Flowering Time of Ornamental Quince?

a white quince in a 3 gallon container at the nursery showing blooms before the leaves come outIn temperate climates, one of the earliest shrubs to bloom is the Ornamental Quince. The display will usually peak at the same time as forsythia, and you can make spectacular combinations by putting them side-by-side. Since the red form of quince seems most common, I thought I’d point out that they come in other colors too: orange, pink, and white.

white crocus blooming in a lawnA few of these shrubs with Iris reticulata at the base would make a fine show that in most parts of the country would appear in March. Or consider planting with crocus, creeping phlox, Siberian squill, Puschkinia, or Chionodoxa. Read more

The Gardening Mistakes Often Made By People Who Think They’re Doing It Right

note: The purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Feel free to donate if you’d like to support this web site.

a color photograph of a garden journal with a pen beside it

The only thing we have learned from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.

Chinua Achebe

Problem #1: Most of us start doing things without a way of keeping it organized.

Thomas Jefferson kept a garden journal and so should you . . . or a folder or a 3-ring binder or something!

Ever had this experience? Where did I plant the . . . Read more