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Garden Blogs of the Month: May 2010

May 4, 2010

Each month, I highlight a few garden blogs that are new to me or that I think deserve more recognition. For May, I have chosen three blogs to feature; some of these have been around longer than others, but all are new to me.

In the Trees - screenshot

In the Trees chronicles the development of a Pacific Northwest garden that is shaded by big trees. I love transformation stories, and this blog has all the ingredients of a good drama – a picturesque setting, villains (e.g., garden thugs), plant loves, challenges, triumphs and setbacks. This blog is only in its third month, but the garden is in its eighth year; and Linda, the blog’s author, has cleverly created an “About the Garden” page that provides the back story and context for the blog posts. In addition to being well-written, this blog is beautifully organized; Linda has included pages for an inventory of plants (currently more a promise than a reality) and monthly garden to do lists. Moreover, she has created genuinely useful categories for organizing her posts. I am very much looking forward to reading more of this blog and seeing how the garden develops.

Grounded Design - screenshot

Grounded Design is the blog of Washington D.C. gardener and landscape architect, Thomas Rainer. This is a blog written by someone who is knowledgeable, thoughtful, and who has a very definite point of view about gardens and landscapes. Ultimately, as he explains in his first post, this blog is focused on the question, “What is good design.” Although the blog is only a little over a month old, it has already attracted a devoted following; and I can understand why. I love the intellectual stimulation that this blog provides. Rainer not only teaches me things I didn’t know, but he makes me think. The posts are exceptionally well written, and I almost always come away from them heady with new ideas and new ways of seeing. If I only had time to read one garden blog, this one would be a serious contender.

Ombra mai fu - screenshot

Ombra mai fù has been around longer than the other two blogs, almost two years, and it is primarily a collection of plant photographs. The author, Na, is a Japanese gardener who focuses on growing roses organically, and many of the beautiful images in this blog are of roses. I’m a word person and not normally a fan of photo-only blogs, but when I looked at this blog, I found that I couldn’t tear myself away. Na’s images are not just photographs; they are beautiful plant portraits. Most are carefully labeled with plant identifications, and the quality of the images is stunning. The composition and soft focus of Na’s photographs often remind me of impressionist paintings. Scrolling through these images is like sitting down with an oversized book full of gorgeous color plates. They are works of art that I want to visit over and over again.

I think these are three very special blogs. Each, in its own way, provides a model of excellence that I aspire to. If they are new to you as they were to me, I encourage you to check them out.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2010 11:22 am

    Agreed. Na’s site is stunning. Everyone needs good eye candy once in a while.

  2. May 4, 2010 11:43 am

    Thanks for the introduction to these lovely blogs. Ones I will frequent often, I am sure!

  3. May 4, 2010 11:49 am

    I have to check out Na’s site. I just love roses and beautiful photos. Thank you for bringing great blogs to our attention, Jean.

  4. May 4, 2010 12:07 pm

    I’ve been very favorably impressed with grounded design. I hadn’t realized it just appeared. I thought I’d just found it.

  5. May 4, 2010 12:14 pm

    Jean, I appreciate all the kind words about my blog, In the Trees. I will do my best to keep the posts interesting and at least a little informative. Happy Tuesday!

  6. May 4, 2010 1:43 pm


    Thank you so much for the kind review on your site. I’m pretty new to the whole blogging world, but one of my favorite discoveries is meeting thoughtful and interesting other bloggers like you. This was a lovely way to meet, and I look forward to following your blog in the future.

    Happy gardening!

  7. May 4, 2010 3:01 pm

    Jean, you really are a star picking these new blogs and I absolutely agree with your choices. We all need to follow your example and promote new blogs on a regular basis, so I’m just about to sit down at the drawing board and choose some other new bloggers who deserve highlighting!

  8. May 4, 2010 7:06 pm

    It is always fun to get to know other garden bloggers and enjoy the uniqueness of each site. Thank you. Keep growing and planting and learning! Nadia

  9. May 4, 2010 8:40 pm

    I already follow and enjoy Linda’s blog, but will go and visit the other two as well. Thanks for the recommendations.

  10. May 4, 2010 9:00 pm

    Thanks for posting these. I look forward to visiting them often.

  11. May 4, 2010 10:06 pm

    Thank you for those recommendations, Jean. I have bookmarked them for a better look tomorrow when I’m not so tired — but from a brief visit I can already tell I am going to enjoy the writing of Thomas Rainer and that gorgeous, almost otherworldly photography at Na’s site. (It reminds me of the stillness I sometimes feel internally when contemplating Beauty. Ah!)

  12. May 4, 2010 10:20 pm

    All of these blogs sound wonderful. Thanks for recommending them!

  13. May 5, 2010 12:40 am

    Jean, I just had a quick peek at these blogs, and you are quite accurate in your descriptions. I’m sure I’ll be checking them out even more in the future. Great choices!

  14. May 5, 2010 3:25 am

    Thanks for these links, all definitely worthy of being highlighted. Have just been reading through them and will be coming back for more. These blog highlights are great and much appreciated as once you have been on Blotanical for a little while it becomes increasingly hard to find grate new blogs (well easily anyway) hopefully some of the changes Stuart is planning on making to Blotanical will help this.

  15. May 5, 2010 7:00 am

    Hello Jean, I’m already enraptured with na’s beautiful photography, but the other two blogs are ‘new to me’ so I’m off for a look. You write such great reviews that it’s hard to resist 🙂

  16. May 6, 2010 7:20 am

    Hello Jean, Thank you so much for kind words about my blog. It was a big present for me.
    It is hard to write English for me but photos are helped me always.;-) Thank you

  17. May 6, 2010 5:14 pm

    Great picks! Thanks for these new blogs- always a fun new one to read. The problem is where is the time??

  18. May 6, 2010 7:35 pm

    Jean, What great reviews! I visited each blog and agree with your thoughts. Thank you for the intro!

  19. May 7, 2010 6:06 am

    Really enjoyed Grounded Design – have not read all yet.


  20. May 7, 2010 6:50 am

    Jean – You really provide a great service. I try to find new blogs, but sometimes I need a gentle nudge. I am off to explore all three.

  21. May 7, 2010 10:46 am

    Hi Jean, what a nice way of featuring beautiful blogs. I want to do it in mine but i dont know how to print it inside my blogspace, hehe. I will check later these blogs as it is already 11:50midnight and i am already very sleepy. thanks.

  22. May 12, 2010 5:18 am

    Really nice blog! Lovely photos!

  23. May 12, 2010 5:20 am

    sorry my website came up wrong this is the correct site if anyone is interested in visiting


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