Monday Miscellany: Miracle-Gro Rant, Containers for Wildlife, Small Vines, and A Defense of Yellow

Trey Pitsenberger, owner of Golden Gecko Nursery, is a constant agitator in favor of independent nurseries, common-sense gardening, and truthfulness in marketing. His latest target? Miracle-Gro’s idiotic desire to stuff their bullshit blue fertilizer where it’s not desired. He says:

Why are you mixing fertilizer with a product designed for drainage? In my mind this borders on insanity. Can anyone in horticulture tell me why this might be a good idea? Could these kinds of things be one reason people fail at their gardening efforts, and blame themselves for their failure? Could it be the biggest enemies to attracting new gardeners, may very well be the biggest horticultural companies around?

Rant on, Trey. Read the rest here.

Next, Ellen Sousa of Beautiful Wildlife Garden shows us that container gardeners can also garden for wildlife in her post, Habitat Containers for Hummingbirds. I’ve seen hummingbirds nest in potted Japanese maples, as well as drink nectar from many of the plants Ellen suggests. Ellen also shares some great links for further reading.

Then, my latest post over at the Christian Science Monitor garden blog Diggin’ It is about vertical gardening with small vines. Most vines get so blasted big that after coddling them along for the first few years, your impulse changes from protecting them, to hacking at them every time you walk past. Those behemoths are certainly not suitable for small trellises or for trailing up a rain gutter.

The three vines I feature are unusual enough that you may not have heard of them, yet they’re easy enough for anyone to grow.

Lastly, Frances at Faire Garden has a beautiful pictorial and written defense of the color yellow. I confess I’m more of a fan of purple than yellow, but after seeing her lovely photos, I’m going to be susceptible to some yellow and gold impulse buys at my local indie nursery this week!

That’s it for this week! Have fun with our newfound sunshine out there, and don’t let the deer eat all your plants!


  1. says

    Thanks for linking! I am starting to wonder if the decline, or perceived decline in gardening interest is related to peoples experiences with so called main-line brand names, like Scotts Miracle-Gro. They assume they are getting great stuff, put it on their “growth regulated” marigolds, and then wonder why they fail. Unlike what we hear in the trade about keeping everything about gardening simple for the masses, I suggest we need to put the info out there and let the gardener decide. More info, not less!

    • says

      I am so with you, Trey. I think that and the growth-regulated or just unsuitable plants that people purchase can lead to very discouraging results in the garden. I don’t gravitate towards activities with a high failure rate, so I could see how this could really prove a barrier to people enjoying gardening as a hobby.

  2. says

    Hi Genevieve, I totally agree with Trey about the better gardening through chemicals being forced down the unwitting public’s gullet. Knowledge about the way things really work with dirt, seeds and sun is the only way to fight the big guys. Power to the people. Heh. Thanks for the linkage, my dear. The hot summer sun needs bright, strong colors to show up in our southern US gardens like orange and yellow. Taste? It’s all in our mouth.

    • says

      Frances, I could not agree more. You may need those hot colors with your hot summer sun; we need them too, to combat our cool summer fog!! Pale colors can look bland and washed out under overcast skies. Power to the cheerful colors!

  3. says

    I’m just loving the phrase “Bullshit Blue Fertilizer” LOL. Thanks so much for sharing Ellen’s post about container gardening for hummingbirds at Beautiful Wildlife Garden!

    • says

      LOL, Carole. You couldn’t pay me to use that stuff. Really. People try to all the time! I just direct them to the book Teaming with Microbes and advise them to use up the rest on their houseplants where at least it isn’t killing any soil microbes.

  4. Terry says

    I love rants about garden stuff, so long as it isn’t some snooty expert telling me I can’t plant a combination I find lovely!!! Since I am an untrained, hopeless plant addict, most of my lovely combos are accidental, although I go by hunches a lot, and they frequently work. If they don’t, it turns out my husband usually likes them (!), so I leave them anyway unless I just can’t stand it.

    Golden Gecko nursery used to be one of my regular and favorite haunts when I lived over there in Gold Country! I love seeing Trey’s rants occasionally attached here – thank you, Gen, for searching out these gems to share with your loyal readers.

  5. says

    Wonderful post today Trey Pitsenberger, owner of Golden Gecko Nursery I’m here to say that’s why I do what I do! Eco packaging my 100% natural Soil nutrients, produced by my grass fed livestock that are “free” of GMO/GE tainted feed, antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides. I’m all about the Soil here and making growing Green easy for all size gardeners indoors and outdoors!

  6. says

    Coincidentally, I wrote a post this week suggesting to people that they should not buy Miracle-Gro or Scotts Organic Lawn Fertilizer. I even stay away from Alaska Fish Fertilizer, which is not a bad product, but the parent company Lilly Miller sells chemical fertilizer disgustingness, which I don’t support.

    But I can see now I was being much too nice. “Bullshit blue fertilizer” is much more inspiring than my timid approach.

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