Bridging the Gap: DC To Build First Elevated Park On 11th Street Bridge

Washington, DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park/Photo: OMA + OLIN Anacostia Crossing

There’s a movement afoot that aims to turn old infrastructure into public parks, breathing new life into spaces that have long since been forgotten. Of these, the transformation of an old rail line into a garden on Manhattan’s West Side (the High Line) is the best known. Now comes Washington, DC’s own variation, the 11th Street Bridge Park. Soon, the city’s first elevated park will be perched high atop the Anacostia River. Continue reading

Now There’s Proof: Bumblebees 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

New Study Reveals Ants Know How To Grow Plants

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“Even the sharpest ear cannot hear an ant singing” -Sudanese Proverb

(Red ant on Fijian palm leaf)

Just when you thought you’d heard it all, this week comes the revelation that a certain species of Fijiian ants has been growing plants for millennia.  And they’ve been doing so for far longer than humans. The ants have been growing crops and establishing their colonies within them all while tending their own teeny tiny community gardens. 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

Scientists Uncover Key To Helping Plants Cope With Drought

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Have you ever driven by a cornfield during a prolonged period of drought and asked yourself ‘How do these plants survive?’ Well it turns out scientists have uncovered a protein in plants that holds the key to why some survive and others don’t. It’s called ABA INSENSITIVE GROWTH 1 (ABIG1) and it may determine the future of plant growth in an increasingly waterless world.

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The Return of the Purple Martin

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As all gardeners know, working in the garden is not just about plants. Being outside with your hands in the soil makes you keenly aware of animal life, too. Over the years, I’ve gardened in tandem with a majestic blue heron, a band of three crows, a tiny brown rabbit and a furry red fox, all of who have added immeasurably to the enjoyment of my garden. Now, with the arrival of warmer weather, I’m awaiting the return of the purple martins. 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. Dutifully arriving on the job each morning, the bees hover beside me, yielding as one mass each time I shift position in the garden. Sometimes, I’ve been brave (or stupid) enough to touch one of the downy creatures, and they’ve allowed me to stroke them. Feeling the tiny vibrations of all that industriousness never ceases to amaze me. Continue reading

France Bans Supermarkets From Wasting Food

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Last week, the French did something truly revolutionary. They passed a law banning grocery stores from throwing away or destroying unsold food. The landmark legislation, which went into effect last Wednesday, February 3, makes France the world’s first country to ban food waste by supermarkets. 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