The lone voice of horticultural reason

Welcome, comrades.

Day after tomorrow, the world!

RENEGADE GARDENER is the Web’s best site for gardeners seeking truth, hope, and one lousy sign that someone unfettered by industry prejudice is helping you become a better gardener.

Originally designed to help gardeners banished to the forgotten USDA Zones 2-4, bold content has made it one of the Web’s most-linked gardening sites. Gardening is gardening, design is design, dumb is dumb, and truth conquers all!

Enough with the Damn Daylilies

Comrades, we are planting far too many daylilies. Not just too many per garden, yard, and landscape, but too many tucked together side-by-side, in vast beds, swaths, and trails that are beginning to define the American gardening style in two words: Daylily Delirium.

Here’s the problem with daylilies: Their foliage brings nothing to the party. Nothing. Daylily clumps quickly grow large, and what comprises each clump is great, flopping waves of long, plain leaves that the eye dismisses completely. Those leaves go everywhere, sabotaging the sight lines to plants nearby. There is one in the world with variegated foliage, a lovely English woman in St. Paul grows it, but she can’t remember its name, or where she got it. If any readers know of it, and where to get it, please e-mail me, and I’ll pass the news along.

Hemerocallis ‘Prince of Venice’

But I digress. In bloom, yes, a daylily is a delight, large, colorful blooms in as many colors (and color combinations) as there are dollar signs in the eyes of plant hybridizers. But when they are not in bloom, which is seventy-five percent of the growing season, they are nearly complete liabilities. A daylily takes up a lot of space, even the small varieties, and that space is wasted except for the three weeks the plant is in bloom.


Current Column will be updated from the Archives on November 1.

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Annuals for Minnesota and Wisconsin
Tree and Shrub Gardening for Minnesota and Wisconsin
Perennials for Minnesota and Wisconsin
Best Garden Plants for Minnesota and Wisconsin
Gardening Month by Month in Minnesota and Wisconsin

The Renegade Gardener is Don Engebretson, an award-winning Minnesota garden writer and designer.

The Story of the Renegade Gardener

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The 10 Tenets of Renegade Gardening

Full version is required reading: CLICK HERE.

  1. Gardening should be challenging, relaxing, and fun.
  2. Renegade Gardeners are cautious and wise when perusing the plethora of products and plants sold by the commercial gardening industry.
  3. Gardening involves commitment.
  4. Renegade Gardeners learn the Latin names of the plants they grow.
  5. Gardening is not always easy.
  6. Renegade Gardeners come to realize that lawns are essentially a dumb idea.
  7. Gardening and rock music do not mix.
  8. Renegade Gardeners buy first from local growers.
  9. There is nothing wrong with cutting down a tree on your property.
  10. Irreverence is essential.