Shooting The Breeze With The Head Of Versailles’ Kitchen Garden

Antoine Jacobsohn, Head of the King’s Kitchen Garden at Versailles

What if you could walk down the street and, next to the shrubs and other flowers, fruits and vegetables were growing? That’s the hope of Antoine Jacobsohn, Head of the King’s Kitchen Garden at the Palace of Versailles. I spent an afternoon with Jacobsohn recently when he came to DC’s Alliance Française to speak about his role in managing this historic French garden. Continue reading

Trade In Your Lawn For A Low-Maintenance Meadow Garden

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A suburban meadow can help free you from tiresome yard work

These days, many of us are searching for alternatives to conventional lawn and garden care, a chore that has become increasingly dependent on time and maintenance as well as pesticides and other poisons. The suburban meadow offers a beautiful solution to this problem. Continue reading

5 Ways You Can Honor Our Planet on Earth Day

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It’s been a while now since Earth Day first made its debut on April 22, 1970. I vaguely remember the strangeness of being let out of school to pick up trash in the nearby woods. The idea seemed entirely foreign to us at the time, which means, of course, that we were used to throwing our garbage on the ground. Hard to imagine in this day and age that was the common mindset. Continue reading

Now There’s Proof: Bees Make Bigger Plants

Bumblebee pollinating mustard plant/ Photo: University of Zurich (UZH)

There’s been a lot of buzz in recent years about pollinators, especially of the fuzzy yellow and black kind. Now comes news that bumblebees not only help plants propagate, but they also have a positive effect on their size, fragrance and color. It’s all part of a new experiment by researchers at the University of Zurich that proves bees do it bigger and better. Continue reading

Is the Self-Healing House the Garden of the Future?

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Image via Edwin Indira Waskita

There’s a fascinating image that has stuck with me ever since, years ago, I read the sci-fi novel Goodbye and Thanks For All the Fish (the fourth installation in the series the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.) In the novel, author Douglas Adams describes a four-walled house turned inside out. If you entered the house, you found yourself ‘outside’ in a green space, complete with lawn, benches and walking paths. If you exited the house, you found yourself ‘inside’ in a far less desirable place Adams termed the Asylum. Continue reading

Bee ID: How To Make Sense Of The Buzz In Your Garden

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Aren’t they cute?

One of the many things I love about gardening is working alongside my many fuzzy, buzzing friends. Faithfully arriving on the job each morning, they give way in a single mass to hover just next to my hands as I carefully reach down into the garden. Sometimes, I’ve been brave (or stupid) enough to pet one of the downy creatures, and they’ve allowed me to stroke their velvety fur. Feeling the tiny vibrations of all that industrious activity never ceases to amaze me. Continue reading

Ruderal Plants: Challenging Our Notion of Control Over Nature

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“Sometimes the best thing you can do is…. nothing. –Oliver Kellhammer, Ecological Artist 

There’s a lesser-known field of botany called the study of ruderal plants, or plants that grow on waste ground, ruins or rubble. Borne by birds, wind or other animals, the weed-like species are the first plants to colonize lands disturbed by wildfires, avalanches, construction and other ecological disasters. Self-sowing in abandoned areas, the hardy plants take root, demonstrating what Mother Nature can create when left to her own devices. Continue reading

How NASA Grew the World’s First Flower in Space

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Photo tweeted by Astronaut Scott Kelly 1/16/16

Anyone who has seen The Martian will remember the scene where astronaut Mark Watney succeeds in growing potatoes and the joy he experiences in knowing he has learned to cultivate plants to survive. Well, it turns out that crew members aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have been growing plants, too, in an actual ‘space garden’. Now, with its debut of the first-ever flower grown in space, NASA takes a giant leap forward in developing methods that will provide astronauts with a sustainable source of safe food, making the possibility of missions to Mars no longer a dream of the future. Continue reading

National Building Museum Retraces the Works of Oehme, van Sweden

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Slifka Beach House/tlcf.org.

There’s a small but beautiful photographic exhibit currently on view at Washington, D.C.’s National Building Museum entitled The New American Garden: The Landscape Architecture of Oehme, van Sweden. It’s a fascinating look back at the careers and influence of revolutionary landscape architects Wolfgang Oehme (1930-2011) and James van Sweden (1935-2013), whose collaborative work challenged the American concept of the structured, well-manicured lawn. Continue reading