Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RadioGarden: The Best Garden Podcast Period

If you haven't checked out Andrew Key's RadioGarden, my friend, you are missing out.  Andrew Keys wears many hats in the gardening world: designer, writer, entrepreneur, and blogger.  Andrew has made gardening hip for the iPod generation.  I had already been following his witty blog Garden Smackdown, when I saw that he was starting a radio podcast for Horticulture Magazine.

This peaked my interest.  For years, I've been searching for a GOOD garden podcast to pass the time while I do my studio work.  But it's slim pickings in the garden podcast world.  The vast majority of them are overly polite how-to's (today's episode: how to prune hydrangeas); or call in shows where every other caller wants to know what they can plant that will withstand dog pee.  Mind numbing stuff.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grounded Design is One Year Old

Grounded Design is celebrating its one year anniversary this month.  Aren't blog years like dog years?  One blog year feels like at least seven human years.  Of course, so many of my favorite bloggers have been doing great posts for multiple years, like Susan Harris whose been blogging since 2005.  Now that's inspiring (I'm a bit of a late adopter myself . . . oooh, iPods?!).

I had meager expectations when starting this blog.  I thought I'd give my wife a break from my rants about gardens, landscapes, and planting and direct these ramblings into a blog site.  I expected only my parents and perhaps a few other friends I guilted into signing up for emails to read this.  I still remember the joy of getting my very first comment on the blog (even if it was an angry complaint from a company in the UK named Grounded Design).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Native Debate Heats Up: Doug Tallamy Takes on The New York Times OpEd

While I try to avoid link-posting on this blog, this interview in Garden Rant with scientist Douglas Tallamy is too good to pass.  Tallamy rocked the gardening world a few years ago when he published Bringing Nature Home, a book based on scientific studies that show exotic plants support exponentially less wildlife than native plants.  Tallamy, a professor and chair of the entomology and wildlife ecology department at the University of Delaware, believes that biodiversity is an essential, non-renewable natural resource that people are forcing to extinction.

Tallamy addresses some of the backlash against native plant advocacy, addressing in particular the article in The New York Time's OpEd "Mother Nature's Melting Pot" that compares negative feelings towards exotic invasive plants to xenophobia.  The Times article likens the native plant movement to the anti-immigration movement:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Exile from the Garden

My wife and I recently bought and moved into our house.  It is a single story 1950’s rancher that does little to combat the idea that all post World War II architecture is crap.  The location is killer, and the house was incredibly priced.  After almost seven years of trying to get into the DC market, we made the plunge.  Of course, the house was incredibly priced precisely because it was so run down.  The previous owner had some issues with hoarding and an apparent aversion to maintenance.  The listing called the house “ignored not abused”—one of those euphemisms that only a realtor could spin.

Since we closed on the house in December, our lives have been absorbed by the enormity of the projects.  Every surface of every room needs to be replaced, re-covered, and re-done.   The bathrooms and kitchens must be scraped down to the studs and rebuilt.  The floors have to be refinished or replaced.  Every window, door, and heat register must be made new again.  It's not because we're perfectionists; the place was just nasty.  And because we dumped all of our savings on the down payment, we are doing the entire renovation ourselves.  Thanks to the epic kindness and patience of my father-in-law, who comes over almost every weekend to help us, we have been able to do things I never imagined doing myself.  But the scale of the project, combined with the care of a seven-month old baby, is overwhelming. 

We live in the midst of the construction.  The rituals of domesticity merge with our construction projects in confusing ways.  Our “kitchen table” is a piece of plywood set on two sawhorses.  The other day at dinner, I reached for my fork and picked up a wrench instead.   I brush my teeth and wash dishes in the same sink I clean my drywall knives and fill up the tile saw.   And I’m beginning to think of our Shop-Vac as our family pet (we call him Vacu-saurus, and he’s always at my side).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grounded Design Joins the Garden Designer's Roundtable for 2011

Grounded Design will be joining the Garden Designer's Roundtable as a guest blogger for this year's roundtable.  The topic will be "Horticultural Icons" and the post will be this September.  Here is a preview of other designers contributing this season:

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