The ABC’s of Plants for Bees!

A bee collecting pollen from a Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta). Though it might not seem like it for some of us who are still in the throes of winter and it especially feels like a distant dream as I look outside my window here in Montana, but Spring is right around the corner. Along with … Continue reading The ABC’s of Plants for Bees!

Plant lists that shouldn’t exist

Nothing drives me crazier than simplistic solutions to complex problems. Given our changing climate, there has been an explosion of “drought tolerant” and “firewise” plant lists in the gardening world. Most of these lists are devoid of science and all of them are removed from reality. The fact is that taxonomy plays a minimal role … Continue reading Plant lists that shouldn’t exist

Why root washing is important – an illustrated cautionary tale

I’ve promoted root washing of containerized and B&B trees and shrubs for a few decades now. The experimental science is slowly coming along – it can take several years to determine if the practice is more successful in terms of plant survival than leaving the rootball intact. But we know how soils function in terms … Continue reading Why root washing is important – an illustrated cautionary tale

A Super Simple Salad in Stor(age): A DIY Home Hydroponics Example

Say the word “hydroponics” or the even more mysterious sounding “controlled environment agriculture” and the image that most people conjure in their minds is of large greenhouses or artificially lit rooms filled with complex hoses and tubes using all manner of technological gizmos to pump water and nutrients to plants.  True, modern ag technology does … Continue reading A Super Simple Salad in Stor(age): A DIY Home Hydroponics Example

Pruning newly planted trees

As the climate warms the value of trees for cooling the environment around buildings, especially in cities, drives tree planting programs. Planting trees is just the first step in growing a tree in a sustainable landscape. Successful plantings require evaluation and guidance of the new tree’s current and future branch architecture. In almost every case, … Continue reading Pruning newly planted trees

“Save the planet, (learn how to) plant a tree”

I like catchy memes as much as the next person. They’re easily memorized and passed on. But “Save the planet, plant a tree” has always bugged me for two reasons. First, and probably most importantly, this simplistic mantra absolves people of doing MORE to improve our environment. It’s a “one and done” approach:  “Hey, I … Continue reading “Save the planet, (learn how to) plant a tree”

Everything is chemicals: the myth and fear of “chemical-free” gardening

“Chemical-free” – a term I’ve seen several times attributed to many products, especially food and produce at farmers markets and even in gardening circles these days.  This term is often misused to describe plants grown without the use of any pesticide, either conventional or organic. I have my thoughts that I’ll share later on that … Continue reading Everything is chemicals: the myth and fear of “chemical-free” gardening

Garden Logic – understanding correlation and causation in our gardens and landscapes

Upon reading this post’s title, you may be inclined to stop right there. (That’s why I have an eye-catching photo to lure you in.) While logic may seem irrelevant to your enjoyment of gardening, I can guarantee that reading this blog post will challenge many seemingly logical assumptions you’ve heard or read about. Recognizing unsubstantiated … Continue reading Garden Logic – understanding correlation and causation in our gardens and landscapes