With a passion for sharing plant stories, Allan Armitage removes the mystery of growing plants

“Plants aren’t complicated, and gardening should be fun,” says Allan Armitage. Deciphering the pronunciation of a name like Centaurea cyanus probably isn’t the most welcoming way for a newbie to enter the world of plants. But telling a story about how this common roadside weed with fuzzy blue blossoms came to be known as “Bachelor’s […]

Plant collector turns suburban lot into a ‘gallery’ of living art

For many suburban homeowners, working in the yard is a chore, a dreaded weekend drudgery done solely to stay in the good graces of the HOA and the next-door neighbors. Lowrie Glasgow is not a typical suburban homeowner. In the 12 years since he moved to his half-acre suburban lot in Greenville, S.C., he’s changed just about […]

Sweet things are in the making at Kettle Ridge Farm

  From a weekly egg delivery service within its neighborhood to a soon-to-be-launched pancake food truck, Kettle Ridge Farm exemplifies the enterprise and creativity today’s small farmers must bring to their job. Kettle Ridge encompasses 70 acres spread out across areas around Rochester, N.Y. Owners Joe Hurley and his son, Chris, produce maple syrup, honey […]

Lansdowne Farm’s botanical history: plants preserve memories

Stories stream from Barbara Backus as she strolls the grounds of Lansdowne Farm, the property where she and her husband, Curtis, live in Fredericksburg, Va. From the farm’s history to the various iris, dahlia and daylily beds spread about the property, there’s no shortage of material. But that doesn’t mean that the botanical details of […]

Lamberton Conservatory shines at the holidays and beyond

Towers of poinsettias and trees festooned with lights make Lamberton Conservatory glow against the cold nights of early winter in Rochester, N.Y.’s Highland Park. The conservatory’s Holiday Show, which this year runs from Dec. 3, 2016, until Jan. 3, 2017, is a popular tradition and setting for holiday photos. It’s one of the many benefits this conservatory, […]

A coalition rallies behind an important Seattle-area forest

Like many communities on the outskirts of large cities, the city of Bothell, Wash., saw rapid growth during the housing boom of the mid-2000s. It’s easy to look at growth as an intrinsic threat to preserving open spaces, but that’s not quite how things turned out in Bothell, located outside Seattle. In fact, you could […]

Volunteers turn a public library landscape into an educational pollinator garden

Across the U.S., there’s a growing realization that pockets of public land that would otherwise house fertilizer- and water-dependent sod can be put to better use through the use of native plants. Pollinator gardens—landscapes designed to attract the bees, butterflies and birds that are necessary to plant life and food production—are becoming a popular project […]

Garden connects school students with literary classics

Every garden has a story, but the West Bloomfield High School Literary Garden, just outside of Detroit, Mich., has dozens. There are the stories of how of individual plants came to reside in a well-worked patch of dirt in what was once a neglected high school courtyard. The bittersweet vine was grown from seeds sent […]

A century-old landscape endures at Wyoming’s Trail End

John B. Kendrick came to Wyoming in 1879 as a poor, orphaned cowboy, and began building a ranching empire. By the early 1900s, he had amassed a wealth that allowed him to start construction on his dream home, a “castle on a hill” in Sheridan, Wyo. Trail End, the home Kendrick built, was completed in […]

Virginia Master Naturalists care for public landscapes and educate visitors

The public landscapes of Virginia benefit from an active corps of volunteers. Devoted to protecting the state’s natural ecosystem, these citizen scientists and stewards do everything from monitoring the health of important pollinators to transporting recycling materials at state parks. These volunteers are certified members of the Virginia Master Naturalists program, which started in 2006 […]