People and Plants

This Independence Day weekend blog post is about John Bartram, the American gardener and botanist who revolutionized gardening. John Bartram was born a third generation Quaker on a farm in Darby, Pennsylvania on March 23, 1699. While he had no formal education beyond the local school, he was interested in medicine and medicinal plants. Stymied by … Continue reading People and Plants

Tomato season is open!

Mmmmm, fresh summer tomatoes. They’re great sliced, diced or made into salsa or sauces. There’s nothing like picking one right off the vine, popping it in your mouth and splat! You now have tomato all over your shirt. “No problem,” you think, “it’ll come out in the wash.” Fast Forward to Laundry Day… As you’re … Continue reading Tomato season is open!

Creating artificial nesting structures for cavity nesting solitary bees

Pollinators, especially bees, are an important part of our agriculture, economy, and ecosystems. Gardeners are often well-versed in the importance of bees since we get the opportunity to see these incredible animals in action. We enjoy the results of their labor in the form of fruits, “vegetables”, and seeds which feed wildlife and create beauty … Continue reading Creating artificial nesting structures for cavity nesting solitary bees

Maddening mulch myths

Long-time followers of this blog know that I’ve been researching, writing, and educating on the topic of landscape mulches for over 20 years. So whenever an article comes out in a newspaper or online that directly refutes our current understanding of mulch science, on-line and real-life colleagues quickly call it to my attention. Many times … Continue reading Maddening mulch myths

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