A live plant rant

They poison, they maim and they intoxicate. They are the plants profiled in Amy Stewart's new book "Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities." Stewart, one of the Garden Rant bloggers, also wrote "Flower Confidential," an exposé about the flower business. She'll be in town next Thursday to talk about her new book, her old book and her love of "real, rambling, chaotic, dirty, bug-ridden gardens" (as stated in the manifesto on www.gardenrant.com).

Stewart's talk, at 7 p.m. at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, is likely to sell out. Call the Minnesota State Horticultural Society at 651-643-3601 to register. Tickets are $35 and include a reception with light refreshments.

Blooming beauties

The roses, geraniums and Oriental lilies are in full bloom -- not in my garden or yours, but at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park. They're part of the Summer Flower Show, which opens Saturday in the Sunken Garden. This show goes on daily, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the conservatory is free, but a $2 donation is suggested. Go to www.como zooconservatory.org for more information.

Blog on

Even though it's a little early to dig in the dirt, it's not too early to dish the dirt with the Greengirls. The Star Tribune's garden bloggers have been planting their dream gardens, ranting about rabbits and discussing how they withstand (or succumb to) the seductions of seed catalogs. We serve up a fresh topic every day. Join the conversation at www.startribune.com/greengirls.

CONNIE NELSON