This Week in Garden News


In case you missed it, check out Ketzel Levine’s Morning Edition story on xeriscaping .  On her blog she thanks listeners for "helping me get a story on the air about xeriscaping." What made it difficult to convince NPR?  Did the topic seem to obscure or not obscure enough? I can hardly think of more newsworthy plant story than the ripping out of lawns.  I only wish she’d been able to cover the ridiculous battles between gardeners and homeowners associations, code enforcers, etc. That’s the real news story.

The San Francisco Chronicle explores the question of peat vs. coir. Would you, could you, with a coir brick?

Do you MySpace?  Did you know they have a garden page and many gardening groups?  Do you care?

A hospital in the UK bans flowers, claiming that "There is evidence to show that flowers in vases that are not effectively maintained can pose an infection risk" and "This decision has been made as part of an ongoing effort to keep our wards clean and tidy."  Yes, with staph infections and resistant strains of pneumonia and TB floating around, untidy flower bouquets are the biggest problem.  Hospitals are thinking about banning Crocs too, claiming that they create static electricity.  Next up:  bans on tin foil, which may interfere with the hospital’s navigational equipment, and stethoscopes, which have been known to transmit signals from outer space.  As long as they’re keeping up with the latest science, that’s all we care about.

Need to grow a lot of plants indoors, but don’t have much space? Check out the GI Grow. Tucks away easily in a closet or behind a false wall.  There’s even one for sale on eBay for three grand.

And speaking of eBay, the most expensive plant for sale on the giant auction site right now is a 15 foot Japanese maple listed for $15,000.  Unfortunately, there’s no pictures.  Oh, and you gotta dig it up yourself.  Another pricey plant of note: the Laelia anceps ‘Queen of the Valley’ orchid is up to $255 with four days remaining.

Would you, could you, for $255?  What’s the most you’ve paid for a plant?  What’s the most you would pay?

And now we include with another brilliant horticulture video from YouTube a newsreel about Botanicalls. Wouldn’t you like to get a polite phone call from your plants when they need water? 

"Hi, this is your ivy calling.  Would it be too much trouble…"


  1. I love posts like this.

    I love the GI Grow. It looks like art. If I had one, I’d want it to spin really fast. And, of course, all the lettuces look fabulous. I want to see the one for growing carrots.

    Someone gave me a vermiculture compost starter kit that I knew I lacked the commitment to maintain, so I threw the coir brick it came with into the compost bin where I already had a version of vermicomposting going on. I never saw it again.

    I do some work in the hospital-acquired infections area. I’ll do a literature search on bacteria in vase water today and report back. On one hand, the ban seems absurd to me too, but on the other hand it doesn’t seem so preposterous.

    I bought plants on eBay before–two Cestrum in fact, C. aurantiacum and C. nocturnum. I just ripped out the aurantiacum yesterday. It served its purpose. The verdict is still out on nocturnum. At any rate, the prices were reasonable and the plant specimens were excellent.

    I can’t remember how much I paid for the most expensive plant I ever bought (maybe $50?) which was Illicium mexicanum from White Flower or one of those. For total shade. It’s alright, but I wouldn’t do it again.

  2. Apparently, pot does spectacularly well in my part of the world. Hmmm, possibly a way to make my plant habit pay?

    Re the hospitals and flowers, Amy–it’s so counterproductive. It’s been often observed that people appear to feel less pain when surrounded by flowers. That’s why rehab hospitals often have gardens.

  3. As we saw, NPR was not all that sensitive about the whole Monsanto/Roundup issue.

    I did not notice if that came up on her blog–I should check.

  4. The most I’ve paid so far is $70 for a 15 gal. potted Dancy Tangerine. I was planting an edible privacy fence of citrus, feijoa & loquat. I wanted as much of a head start on height as I could afford.

  5. I would, could and HAVE with coir… but it’s a little light for my taste in regards to seed starting, so I always mix it half/half with compost.

  6. Honestly, the most I’ve spent for a plant? Hmmm… would a shoe fanatic tell you what she really spends on shoes? Does a plant fanatic ever tell what they really spent on a plant?

  7. The hospitals where I used to work have routinely banned flowers from their ICU’s for years due to infection risks. This is not a new issue. I know medicine has a bad name these days, but please don’t disrespect things out of hand.

  8. Hmm. Flower bans in hospitals actually make sense to me.

    My allergies to perfume and many of flower’s natural perfumes would leave me grateful for a ban if I was in hospital.

    The biggest offenders? Those awful Stargazer lilies they put in every hothouse bouquet, and hyacinths. Guaranteed to make me choke from as far as 50 feet away in a closed ventilation environment. So hurray for hospitals banning things that make people sick. ‘Bout time.

    Now, can we just get the doctors to WASH THEIR HANDS, fer chrissake? Oh, that’s a rant for another site…

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