Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What plant(s) did you kill this year? - Fine Gardening

What a treat! While I was in Raleigh NC last week attending the Garden Writers Assoc. symposium, I finally met my editor at Fine Gardening magazine. Kate Frank was a hoot to hang with and she brought along her video rig.

We did three different segments, and this is the first to go up. We asked bloggers and others we ran into "What's new in your garden this year?" and "What did you kill in your garden this year?" We even got Amy Stewart, NY Times award-winning author of Wicked Plants, to make a stunning revelation.

The short video is posted now at Fine Gardening. Have a look, and if you're up to it, log in and enter the confessional.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Third-Annual Santa Barbara Not-So-Beautiful Awards

For the past few years, I've taken it upon myself to peel back the fetid cloak of darkness and draw your attention to a parallel alternate universe of hideous and paralyzingly misguided landscapes ... a realm so evil and disturbing that parents rush to protect their children from the Boschian vision. Despite the personal joy I get from ripping to shreds these misguided landscapes, my intent is to give my readers useful information-I just like to spew a little bile while getting there.

Read the whole, hideous mess here...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rethinking the Suburban Lawn: National Coalition Launches New Website - Fine Gardening

I've joined forces with a heavy-hitting group of bloggers, garden writers and film producers. We've been tinkering with, debating about and editing a new website designed to help people take a fresh look at our obsession with lawns.

The Lawn Reform Coalition is the brainchild of Susan Harris, co-creator of the brilliant, and at times, scathing blog, GardenRant. Join us and find out more about beautiful, functional, sustainable approaches to gardening.

Below is the link to my blog post at Fine Gardening. You'll find lots of great links AND a chance to win grass guru John Greenlee's new book, The American Meadow Garden.

Rethinking the Suburban Lawn: National Coalition Launches New Website - Fine Gardening

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This past summer I treated myself to a brain expanding permaculture design course at Santa Barbara City College. I was already very conversant in the sustainable horticultural practices that are embodied within the permaculture paradigm: Work with nature, respecting the unique natural systems inherent in every site.

It was the lecture about building community that expanded my vision of how all the pieces fit together. We watched an inspirational video about Mark Lakeman and his organization, City

That evening I walked my neighborhood, realizing how sterile and soulless it felt compared to what I had just seen (except for the McConnell's ice cream shop). Where were the brightly painted mandalas in the intersections or fanciful bus shelters built from locally harvested street trees? I didn't see one box of fresh produce generously left in a curbside kiosk.

The 3-year old in me petulantly pouted, "I want some of THOSE THINGS!"

Mark Lakeman and City Repair to the rescue...

Read the rest of the story at Edhat.com...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Confessions of a Santa Barbarian: Palm Trees Are Stupid

I posted this a few weeks ago at my Edhat.com column. It's a local Santa Barbara website dedicated to local news & events and my general wise-assmanship. I figured I'd get ridden out of town on a Trachycarpus fortunei trunk, but the comments that poured in seem to support my thesis statement:

"Palm trees are stupid. They have no business growing in Santa Barbara." That's how I was going to start this week's column. Come to think of it, that IS how I started this week's column. But I don't really mean it. Not in the literal sense. I've had some engaging conversations with palm trees on important issues and they always hold their own. But that says more about me than about them.

What I mean is that palm trees just don't DO anything. If you planted one of the big guys in your yard a few decades ago, chances are the only people who can enjoy the show live ten blocks away.

Pretty pictures and the full article...

Why Are You Working So Hard? Blow Up Your Rototiller!

I've kinda had it with all these so called "sustainable tips" that start with "Buy a butt load of compost that's been trucked in from who-knows-where and dump it on your beds. Then turn on the Cuisine Art and blend your soil into a lifeless medium for plants that don't belong in your garden."

Well, that's not what they say, but you get the idea.

Here's the whole story at Fine Gardening...

What's Microsoft Doing In My Pea Patch?

From my August 20, 2009 Fine Gardening blog...

"Wouldn't it be totally cool to be a professional futurist? You'd get a paycheck for predicting what the world will look like in a hundred years, then wait for everyone to die before they can tell that you made it all up."