Love at First Scent

Smelling Your Way to Intimacy

Virtual Gardening

Perusing plant catalogs

Dirty Deeds

The trials and rewards of a landscape professional

Cabin Fever Projects

What to do with holiday plant leftovers

Give the Gift of Fresh Air

Buy a houseplant

Green Hibernation

Plant dormancy and winter greenery traditions

Keeping Christmas Real

Avoiding the fakes

Garden Gift Giving

My true love gave to me: a gas mask and a bottle of wine

Forcing Spring Indoors

The chilling facts

Decorate with Martha

Felonious pruning and swaggering misdemeanors

Reader Q&A

You ask, we answer to the best of our knowledge

Digging for Spring Color

Tulipmania and other psychosocial substrates
Just as the plant material of the desert is foreign to the acidic conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest, so might tulips be to Boise had Jonny Appleseed not enticed settlers ever further west with hard apple cider.

Squirrels, Guns and Alcohol

Foiling the efforts of the garden outlaw

Making Stinkless Piles

Gathering what falls
With leaves starting to fall, can composting be far behind?

Trees Trump Humans: You're Fired!

The secret life of trees

Lessons Learned

A time for pride and humility
In the month of May, I tell smug, self-satisfied, big-headed gardeners whose plants look like a billion dollars (a million isn't what it used to be) that every suffering, sick, misplaced, starving, abused, infected and infested shrub, grass, tree or perennial looks grand in that period of moist soil and mild days. How did those guys look by mid-August? Some not so great, perhaps.

The Mouse Police Never Sleep

Ridding your realm of rodents
Cool weather is a fine time for harvesting produce, fertilizing the lawn and checking for mice. Checking for mice? you might ask. Well, it's true, cool weather brings those miniature eating machines indoors looking for a place to cozy up for the winter. Having dispatched 30 mice in five weeks from my pump house and hay barn, I'd have to say that thoughts of them still gnaw at my brain and I continue to set traps.

It Came From the Compost Pile

Weeds from Hell
"It came from the compost pile," Betula explained in an uncharacteristically meek voice. (A pseudonym seems wise, since the neighbors still avert their eyes.)

Easy to please bulbs

And city code S(to)P:it/3.nO/w explained
When I was a kid, we got a hilarious annual Christmas letter from Great Aunt Pauline-a four-page psychotic recitation of the tragedies that had befallen people in her little town.

Green news

Starting community gardens

Don't Say Bush

Latin lessons in hortspeak
Would it have ended better had Latin class preceded geometry? Doubtful. In one sorry semester, I declined from an A+ dedicated and disciplined student to an unfocused, inattentive and disorderly underachiever who couldn't have anticipated a twilight curiosity about arithmetic and dead languages.

Priscilla, Queen of the BCB

Local innovator creates Backyard Chicken Barns for sale
Since it's so hot that Boiseans are flocking to the snowy film March of the Penguins just to fantasize, we dispense with gardening this week. Everything looks like crap anyway.

On Edge

Life in the garden
Punishment isn't always swift or certain, but it would seem that breaking self-imposed dress code rules incurs the immediate wrath of the big foreman in the sky.

Babbling Boiseans

It's Bush's fault
After much thought (well, not THAT much), I've decided that Vista and Broadway boulevards, those tasteless trails of trashiness, are Bush's fault, not that things to blame him for are in short supply.

And the Oscar Goes to

... the melodramatic weeping spruce
At a recent horticultural symposium, I was privileged to view images and hear a description of the creative process as practiced by a robed Zen landscape designer.

The Haphazard Gardener

Bak grot no pt
Have you ever sterilized your pruners? Oiled a shovel? Or are you one of those nutjobs who keeps a garden diary in which you press flowers, paste photos and write down natureful thots? Me neither.

Ask An Arborist

What IT geeks are to computers, certified arborists are to trees
Boise Weekly asked me to write about certified arborists and I am proud to say that I am one. My GPA is admirable, but the CA's test is among the most difficult I've taken.

Fling Flowers

Calling for a floral makeover for city streets
Boiseans are charmingly good at Rake Up Boise and Paint the Town and Plant A Tree, aren't we? The civic-minded multitudes will mob up faster than Wile E. Coyote on his way to a roadrunner roast, if you ask.

Rhythm and Blues

Reinventing gardening through musical metaphors
The basic elements of landscape design are similar to other types of design or composition. We can compose a landscape design by imagining the notes on sheet music.

Of Moths and Cats

Defining crisis in the valley
Listening to the many horror stories from homeowners these past two weeks, I've come to the conclusion that a) There must be an invasion of giant killer moths in the Treasure Valley and b) Cats are taking over the world.

Roses vs. Rhodies

Correct pronunciation, current political affiliation and more
Roses and rhododendrons should be blooming right now, and I'd love to wax all sentimental about it, but there is something we must clear up first.

Bugs in your bush

When the neighbor notices, it's time for action
In college, during wilder and looser times, a "friend" told me a tale about his current sleeping partner. She had called him up and casually mentioned that she had crabs.

Gardening With Spirit

Remembering your loved ones
Whenever I'm out in my garden, I'm never alone. Running through my mind are the memories of friends and loved ones who, like exotic flowers that bloom and wither in such a short time, enriched and perfumed my life.

Under a Dirty Shovel

Gardener categories revealed, political bents and all
We quilters, you know, have our subcultures. One such group is the Quilt Police, who must have historically accurate patterns and fabrics, and all their points have to match. On the other hand, the Happy Wacky Flappy-Burlap Textile Artists express themselves in an improvisationally obscure manner with more glue than stitches.

It's Time to Get Planning!

Veggie eaters unite
It's time to start planting the garden, if you haven't already. There are lots of cold, hardy plants that can be planted right now. Let's talk about a few.

Green Fever

Not everybody's got the fever, but if you do, it's probably got you
If you have ever had green fever, you know it. Sometime during the spring, urges to dig in the soil and magically coax forth nature take hold.

Gardening for Health (and sanity)

Trim your waistline by trimming your trees
People have always sought the sun (especially in March), but it isn't the only reason gardeners construct gardens in their minds while they wait for warmer weather. We all garden for a variety of reasons: to gain a sense of continuity, to seek beauty or to make contact with nature.


Early bloomers brighten the garden

Grow a Living Fossil

Plant a Ginkgo Tree


Keeping the dream alive
January is an impossible month for me--there's not enough color. It forces me to bring home bundles of bright, cut flowers to fill every room. If nothing else, this dreary month is good for planning spring gardens. Any month could be used to hatch new plans and revise old ones if they aren't roaring with activity (which they are). January, on the other hand, is quiet. It's a time to think and plan. Besides, winter keeps most gardeners indoors like caged birds--agitated and captive. Except, of course, for those hard-core gardeners covered in fleece and wool who wield Pulaskis (firefighting tools with an ax on one side of a heavy head and a sharp, small hoe on the other side). The handle is short and stout like a pickax, and it works wonders on breaking through the frozen top three inches of ground.


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