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Garden Blogs of the Month: March 2010

March 2, 2010

It’s the first week of the month and time for me to choose some new garden blogs to highlight. Once more, I’ve decided on three. Two of these are brand new blogs; the third has been around a bit longer but does not seem to have attracted much attention.

Gardening Gaspe - screenshot

Gardening Gaspé, about vegetable and flower gardening on Quebec’s beautiful Gaspé Peninsula, is a brand new blog (begun in late February) and one that shows a lot of promise. As of this writing, the blog’s author, Ceara, has already published ten posts (about one a day). Her writing style is lively and engaging, and a personality that is warm, funny, and passionate about gardening shines through the written words. I very much enjoy the variety of her posts, which so far include reports and wry commentary on the weather (It’s Raining Slush!), useful gardening advice and information (Save the Easter Lily! and The Great Lily), reports on seed orders and gardening plans (Waiting Is Hard and Got Some Supplies in Today), and some gorgeous garden photos (Remembering Summer). I’m eager to learn more about Ceara, her property, and her gardening adventure.

image

The Bunnies’ Buffet is another new blog just begun in February. The title of the blog is taken from a question that author Shyrlene Foster’s husband once asker her: “Why do you get so upset about the bunnies eating your plants, when you provide them a buffet?” In her introductory blog post, Shyrlene describes her relationship with the bunnies this way:

Even in my gardening infancy I have had a love-hate relationship with the bunnies in my yard. They appear so sweet & innocent, while they gnaw on my fledgling arborvitae or dappled willow like piranha. The fact that all my surrounding neighbors have fenced in yards with loud, boisterous dogs only exacerbates the situation. “Co-existing” with bunnies in Illinois is a challenge – especially with the change of seasons, they get more ravenous in winter! (It reminds me of Monty Python’s Holy Grail!)

Although The Bunnies’ Buffet is a new blog, it is a continuation of more than 5 years of garden journals, and that background shows in both the quality of writing and the depth of the blog posts. Shyrlene Foster has cleverly organized her first few posts as a brief history of her garden, and she has done a wonderful job here of providing the context for her current gardening experiences. I recommend that you begin at the beginning and read these initial posts in sequence. As the blog develops and it is no longer feasible for readers to go back and read all the previous posts, the author may want to put these original posts on a separate page (with a title something like “A Brief History of My Garden”) to provide context to new readers.

Hey Natives - screenshot

Hey Natives, a journal of gardening with California native plants in the Bay area, has been around longer (6 months), but hasn’t yet garnered the kind of following I think it deserves. This blog features wonderful writing and delightful original drawings, as well as a lot of good information about California native plants. Jess, the author of both the blog and the garden, shares her experiments, her triumphs, and her tribulations with us.

I love Jess’s sense of humor, and her writing is often laugh-out-loud funny. Her initial post, The Ivy War, is a hilarious introduction to her and her garden and is well worth your while. The following, from a different post (Monster and Mystery Gumplants), provides a sense of both her writing style and her sense of humor:

So I bought a half dozen of the gumplants in 4″ pots in January, from a nursery whose description said, and I quote: “Stems are prostrate, forming a 6-8 inch tall plant that grows to 2 feet wide.”… I think the “6-8 inches tall and 2 feet wide” description was accurate for about one hour some afternoon in early April. The plants are now 3 to 5 feet tall and wide, with an ungovernable urge to sprawl across the sidewalk. My patient neighbors have not complained, even though my yard is located on a major evening constitutional thoroughfare, and strolling couples have had to walk single file to pass my Monster Gummies all summer.

Two factors that may have dampened interest in this wonderful blog are Jess’s infrequent postings (2-4 per month) and her tendency to write quite long posts that require a substantial commitment of time from a reader. I wonder if she could address both these issues by dividing some of her longer posts into two or more installments. (The narrative of The Ivy War, for example, had several natural break points.) By adopting this strategy, Jess could post more often without having to devote more time to writing, and readers might find the length of her posts more manageable. She could also do an occasional post (e.g. for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day) that relies more on photos than on words.

I think all three of these blogs are marvelous, and I encourage you to visit them. You’re in for a treat!

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2010 8:07 am

    Nicely done, Jean.

    I visited Shyrlene from your comments section the other day and really loved reading through her posts. It is going to get even more interesting to see how the garden was recaptured.

    Gardening Gaspe got a visit from me following Jodi’s post the other day. Beautiful photos of her summer garden. I’ll go over to check Hey Natives as well… sounds fascinating.

    Geez~~ usually I feel so behind in my blogging but the fact that I knew about two of these blogs makes me feel a little more in the swing of things.

    Thanks for the reviews … I just love this idea of bloggers featuring other bloggers.
    Meems @HoeandShovel

  2. March 2, 2010 11:06 am

    Hi Jean, very nice post! I always like how you find the time to talk about other people’s blogs. It’s so helpful to find new ones to frequent, and I will certainly check these out. The blogosphere is so huge, it could take a lifetime to explore. But, I love seeing other gardens and gardeners!

    Kathy

  3. March 2, 2010 11:06 am

    Thank you so much Jean. Sorry I wasn’t able to stop by before today. You are a generous soul. There are more photos up and a new post about Iris.

  4. March 2, 2010 11:08 am

    Oh by the way I adore the yellow/blue scheme at the top of the blog. Both such cheery colors. I have a soft place in my heart for tall perennials.

  5. March 2, 2010 11:15 am

    Hi Jean,
    I am embarrassed to confess that while scrolling through countless sites, I missed out on Gardening Gaspe. Makes me wonder what else I ignored.
    Thanks for bringing this blogger to our attention.
    Allan

  6. Jess permalink
    March 2, 2010 6:30 pm

    Thank you Jean, I am so flattered by your kind words on my site. You make good points and I have often thought I write too infrequently and then too long, but you offer brilliant solutions! I need to get my blog roll updated and will definitely add yours. Thanks again!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 2, 2010 9:21 pm

      Meems and Kathy, I really enjoy doing those reviews; it’s so much fun to share my recent discoveries with others. Kathy, I agree that the garden blogging world is now too big for anyone to be on top of. Meems and Allan, I’m glad I managed to introduce you to at least one blog that you didn’t already know about.

      Ceara and Jess, I’m so happy to have found your blogs, and I’m looking forward to reading more from both of you.

  7. March 3, 2010 8:37 am

    Hello Jean, my discovery of new blogs to read occurs in a largely disorganised fashion (no surprises there!) so it is going to be lovely to have your ‘Blogs of the Month’ to look forward to!
    Thank you for an introduction to these blogs – two out of three I hadn’t stumbled upon yet 🙂

  8. Kate permalink
    March 3, 2010 10:38 am

    Wonderful, Jean. I really like the comments and suggestions you’ve given on each of these blogs and to their authors. Checking these out is now on my to-do list. 🙂

  9. March 3, 2010 12:07 pm

    This was a great post for letting us know about some new blogs. I’ve found Gardening Gaspe’ and really like it. I’ll be sure to check the others out!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 3, 2010 8:44 pm

      Heidi, Kate, and Catherine, It’s a treat for me to introduce others to these three great blogs. I hope you enjoy them.

  10. March 3, 2010 9:26 pm

    Jean, you are great to spread the word about new blogs. Bunnies’ Buffet sounds especially enjoyable – maybe someone should write a blog called ‘Deer’s Dinner.’
    BTW, I’ve just published the Favorite Photo meme post I mentioned and hope you’ll have time to take part. Thanks!

  11. March 4, 2010 4:35 pm

    Very nice, Jean! I’ll be sure to visit each blog. I think it’s wonderful how you take time to support other bloggers.

  12. March 4, 2010 10:43 pm

    Jean – I am humbled by your ‘feature’ of my little corner of the world! The Bunnies Buffet has been such a blast to put together … I never imagined anyone ever finding it, much less getting such fabulous feedback & coaching!

    Blog ‘features’ and ‘gadgets’ are a little overwhelming to “newbies” like me, so I can’t thank you enough for sharing recommendations! Garden bloggers are simply the coolest people in cyber space! THANKS again! Shyrlene

    • Jean permalink*
      March 4, 2010 11:27 pm

      Shyrlene, It has been all my pleasure to happen upon your blog and be able to tell others about it. I agree that garden bloggers are a cool group; I love the way that they support and cheer one another on. I guess, for me, sharing blog discoveries is sort of like sharing plant discoveries. BTW, I see that you are now listed on Blotanical, but you need to do something called a “feedburner feed” to get your posts to show up there. I don’t know exactly what a feedburner feed is, but if you login to Blotanical, click on the “my blog” tab, and then click on “feedburner feed,” I think it will take care of itself. (If not, let me know and I’ll try to get you some help with it.)

      Melissa and Kimberly, I hope you enjoy these blogs. I do think that supporting other bloggers is just an extension of the way that gardeners support and share with one another.

      Melissa, I love the idea of the “Deer’s Dinner” as a companion blog to the “Bunnies Buffet.” I’m afraid my garden is often a combination of the Deer’s Dinner and the Groundhog’s Gobble! I have been exploring my photo archives (a real trip down memory lane!) trying to make a choice for the favorite photo meme. Thanks so much for naming me.

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